Israeli plan on expanded settlements criticised by Charlie Flanagan

Extra 3,000 units ‘inherently involves injustice and provocation for Palestinians’

Charlie Flanagan: The Minister for Foreign Affairs has called for an end to all settlement construction by Israel in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Photograph: Eric Luke

Charlie Flanagan: The Minister for Foreign Affairs has called for an end to all settlement construction by Israel in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

Israel’s latest plan to extend its illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem undermine its reputation and credibility, Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan has said.

In his strongest criticism of Israel since becoming minister in 2014, Mr Flanagan said recent announcements by Israel that it would build an extra 3,000 housing units in the occupied territories were “deeply disappointing”.

The plans, announced since Donald Trump took office as US president, undermined Israel’s reputation and the credibility of its government’s declarations of support for a negotiated, peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said.

“In particular, the intention to proceed with new settlements in East Jerusalem only serves to call further into question the commitment of the Israeli government to engage in meaningful negotiations aimed at achieving a two-state solution,” Mr Flanagan said.

Actively undermined

Calling for a reversal of the latest announcements and an end to all settlement construction, the Minister said Ireland’s view and that of the international community “could not be clearer”. He pointed out that the settlements were illegal and “actively undermined” the prospects for a negotiated two-state solution, “and the relentless expansion of settlements inherently involves injustice and provocation for Palestinians”.

The Government’s position echoed unusually strong criticism of Israel’s move by Germany, where foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said the announcement went “beyond what we have seen on it in the last few months, both in terms of its scale and its political significance”.

Mr Trump took office signalling that he could be more accommodating towards settlement projects than his predecessor, Barack Obama.

The president has pledged to move the US embassy to Israel to Jerusalem, an explosive move that would infuriate Palestinians and the Arab world while in effect pre-determining the outcome of negotiations between the two sides.