Ireland condemns Israel's 'de facto annexation' of Palestinian land in landmark move
Ireland's government on Tuesday backed a parliamentary motion condemning Israel's "de facto annexation" of Palestinian land.
"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," Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told parliament.
“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 added.
Coveney, who has acted as Irish envoy in recent United Nations Security Council debates on Israel, also condemned Hamas' rocket attacks on Israel in his backing of the opposition Sinn Fein party motion.
"The acts of terror by Hamas and other militant groups in firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel... cannot and should not ever be justified," Coveney said.
Sinn Fein, meanwhile, withheld its support for the government amendment condemning the Gaza-based Islamist group.
Israel has occupied East Jerusalem since 1967 and expanded settlements in the area, in violation of international law. Most countries do not recognise Israel's claim over the area, which is widely seen as an obstacle to peace.
Palestinians view East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.