The status of Jerusalem

 

Sir, – The Irish Times has referred to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital (“Netanyahu rules out immediate truce as Gaza death toll nears 200”, World, May 16th).

Jerusalem was illegally annexed by Israeli forces in 1967 and their claims of sovereignty over the city have been rejected by the international community.

UN Security Council resolutions 252 and 476 “(re)confirm that all actions taken by Israel, the occupying power, which purport to alter the character and status of Jerusalem have no legal validity . . . and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a just and lasting peace”.

In conforming with international law, we agree that all of Jerusalem is subject to permanent status negotiations. East Jerusalem is occupied territory, and Israel has no right to any part of it – no right to displace the Palestinian population, no right to withhold democratic processes from the population, no right to block or disrupt Palestinians’ right to worship in either Al Aqsa or the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, as it has done in the last few weeks.

Ireland’s position on the status of Jerusalem has always been in line with security council resolutions. Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said in his recent appearance before the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence: “I hope I can use the Irish presidency in September in respect of the Middle East peace process and the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Ireland has been a very strong and consistent voice in this space and I would like us to ensure that at some point during our presidency from September, we can use that profile to be able to create some positive traction in this space, which we have not had for quite a number of years”.

In the Dáil on May 11th, he confirmed that Ireland’s stance “is rooted in the illegality of Israel’s occupation and the right of Palestinians to self-determination. Restrictions imposed on Palestinians undermine the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, a right which is at the heart of the two-state solution”.

The Taoiseach said “the Government remains extremely concerned about the evictions of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah and other Palestinian neighbourhoods in occupied east Jerusalem”.

A peaceful and justly negotiated two-state solution will have East Jerusalem as the capital of our future sovereign state. Jerusalem is the spiritual and economic heart of our land and the subjugation of the Palestinian people there has been the touchpaper which has ignited the opposition to the occupation.

When considering the Palestinian cause, it must be seen as a whole – a system of apartheid, occupation and colonialism which has been firmly rejected by Palestinians and by the international community. – Yours, etc,

SARAH HOLLAND,

Communications Officer,

Mission of the State

of Palestine, Dublin 4.