Trump’s Israeli stance ‘very disappointing’, says Coveney

Labour Party Brendan Howlin says embassy move will ultimately be damaging to Israel

Ireland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney: US decision “difficult to understand”. Photograph: Ints Kalnins/Reuters/File photo

Ireland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney: US decision “difficult to understand”. Photograph: Ints Kalnins/Reuters/File photo


Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said Donald Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem was “premature and ill-advised”.

“Jerusalem is one of the permanent status issues which is to be settled in a final peace agreement in the Middle East. It has been the united position of the international community for decades, as set out in UN Security Council resolutions, that a resolution of the Middle East conflict will include agreement for Jerusalem to be the capital of both Israel and the future state of Palestine,” said Mr Coveney.

Mr Coveney said in a statement that the dangerously heightened tensions in Jerusalem in recent years had underlined the need to avoid any unilateral actions to alter the status quo in the city.

The US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would be unhelpful to efforts to reach a resolution of the Middle Eastern peace process, something that was “ very urgently needed”, he said. The announcement was “ very disappointing and difficult to understand”.

“Ireland remains fully committed to supporting both parties to reach a peaceful, negotiated solution to the Middle East Peace Process, something which is essential for Israel to secure its future, and for Palestinians to enjoy their full political rights, ” Mr Coveney said.

‘Empy and reckless’

Labour Party leader and spokesman on foreign affairs Brendan Howlin said the decision would damage long-term peace in the Middle East, and described it as “a provocative act that damages rather than strengthens the long-term peace of the state of Israel and all the people of the region, Arab and Jewish”.

“This act, while ostensibly proffered as pro- Israeli by Trump and his allies on the evangelical Christian right, is in fact deeply damaging to the people of Israel, as it diminishes further the hope of Middle East peace,” said Mr Howlin.

Mr Howlin said Mr Coveney should make it clear Ireland continued to support a two-state solution, and the resolution of the future status of Jerusalem can only come about as part of those overall negotiations.

“The US should concentrate on restarting the peace process in the Middle East rather than on empty and reckless gesture politics aimed at a domestic audience.”

Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith expressed concern at the the announcement.

“This is an exceptionally sensitive matter as Jerusalem is home to many sacred sites. I am deeply concerned about President Trump’s decision as I believe it flies in the face of efforts to progress peace talks and will only serve to inflame tensions in the region.”