Ireland(The Inside Palestine)- Palestinians welcomed a move by the Irish parliament on Wednesday to condemn Israel’s “de facto annexation” of Palestinian territory, making it the first EU member state to take such a stance.
In a unanimous vote, the Irish parliament, the Dáil, passed a motion calling Israel’s ongoing settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territory as “de facto annexation.”
In a debate on Tuesday prior to the vote, Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney said “the scale, pace, and strategic nature of Israel’s actions on settlement expansion and the intent behind it have brought us to a point where we need to be honest about what is actually happening on the ground … It is de facto annexation.”
“This is not something that I, or in my view this house, says lightly. We are the first EU state to do so. But it reflects the huge concern we have about the intent of the actions and of course, their impact,” he said.
While Coveney, a member of the center-right Fine Gael party, reportedly “insisted on adding a condemnation of recent rocket attacks on Israel by the Palestinian group Hamas” before he agreed to government support for the motion, the left-leaning Sinn Féin refused to support the amendment, Al Jazeera reported.
John Brady, the Sinn Féin spokesperson for foreign affairs, described the motion as “historic” and a “massive show of solidarity” saying “this is a momentous decision, a historic decision, [because] we’re the first European country to actually do so.”
“I hope other countries now will follow the lead and also declare that Israel has illegally annexed Palestinian lands,” he said, adding that “there now needs to be consequences for those illegal actions under international law.”
“That’s where the focus no needs to be, on what are the consequences on Israel to ensure that they cannot continue to act with perceived impunity for the human rights abuses on the Palestinian people and their attempt to annihilate the Palestinian people,” Brady said.
The Dáil scrapped an amendment proposed by the left-wing People Before Profit party, in a vote of 87 to 46, that called for Ireland to expel Israeli diplomats, and called for “a comprehensive package of economic, political, and cultural sanctions against the state of Israel, similar to that applied to apartheid South Africa”, the EU Observer reported.
The Palestinian National Council (PNC) hailed the Dáil’s motion as “a victory for the international law.”
Jamal Nazzal, the spokesperson of the Fatah movement also welcomed the decision, saying it solidified “Ireland as a champion and promoter of international law and the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights in the face of all forms of Israeli colonial hegemony.”
Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq praised the motion on Wednesday, saying “Ireland stood up in defense of human rights and became a beacon for the world to follow.”
In a statement on Twitter, Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Lior Haiat condemned the passing of the motion, saying “this position reflects a blatantly one-sided and simplistic policy.”
“Israel outright rejects Ireland’s outrageous and baseless position regarding Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria,” Haiat said, adding that it “constitutes a victory for extremist Palestinian factions.”