Dáil motion criticising ‘annexation’ of Palestinian land not constructive, Israeli ambassador says
independent.ie– The Israeli ambassador to Ireland has said Ireland’s position on the conflict in the Middle East is not constructive to the peace process.
Ambassador Ophir Kariv criticised a motion in the Dáil recognising Israel’s “de facto annexation” of Palestinian land, as well as a recent motion by the UN’s Human Rights Council.
Discussing the passing of the motion, and criticism of Israel by foreign minister Simon Coveney, Mr Kariv said Israel was defending its citizens.
“We haven’t had any meaningful negotiations with the Palestinians since 2014 or so for a very simple reason. That is Palestinians have been avoiding direct negotiations for all that time, which is disastrous to all sides,” he said on RTÉ Radio One’s Drivetime.
“We believe that any constructive engagement and any constructive contribution from outside players – including Ireland – should concentrate and focus on bringing the Palestinian side to the table.
“We see this new Irish position as not constructive to the peace process.”
Earlier today, the UN’s Human Rights Council agreed to launch an international investigation into crimes committed during the 11-day conflict between Israel and the Islamist group Hamas in Gaza, that killed 250 people, mostly Gazans. Mr Kariv disagreed with this decision.
“Israel rejects outright the resolution that was adopted today by the UN Human Rights Council,” he said.
“The Human Rights Council, and I’m very sorry to say, that’s a body with a built-in anti-Israel majority. It’s a built-in anti-Israel distortion. It’s a shame on human rights.
“The Human Rights Council does not deserve its name. It’s one of the most twisted – the most deformed – organs of the United Nations.”
US similarly said today it deeply regretted a decision by the council to launch an international investigation.
“The action today instead threatens to imperil the progress that has been made,” the statement issued by the US said.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry said the country would not cooperate with the probe, deeming it a bid to “whitewash crimes committed by the terror organization Hamas”.
Meanwhile, former leader of the UK’s Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn welcomed Ireland’s recognition of the de facto annexation of Palestinian land.
“Well done the Dáil. Well done Ireland on this,” he told Drivetime.
“Having seen the settlements, having visited the West Bank and Gaza and seen what these settlements do – take over people’s land, take over their olive groves. In the case of the West Bank, build a wall across farmland. In the case of Sheik Jarrah, harass people out of their homes.
“These settlements are brutal, nasty and illegal, and the only way to bring about a longer term peace is recognition of the state of Palestine [is] ending the settlement policy altogether.”