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Tánaiste condemns Israeli settlement expansion

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Eamon Gilmore, T.D., has condemned the publication of tenders for the construction of 1,285 settlement housing units in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank by the Israeli authorities on November 6.

“This massive expansion of settlement construction clearly undermines the viability of the two-state solution.   It is an unacceptable unilateral action by Israel which places a further obstacle in the way of the achievement of a negotiated political settlement.     Ireland and its partners in the international community reaffirm that all settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian Territory is illegal.    Such action is damaging to the cause of peace and to Israel’s international reputation.   It calls into question the stated commitment of the Israeli Government to support peace and the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

“I have repeatedly made clear that I wish to see substantive negotiations resume at the earliest opportunity.   It is only through such negotiations that a comprehensive peace agreement and the reality of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, can come into being.   This decision by the Israeli Government underscores the urgency of ceasing all actions hostile to the attainment of a two-state solution and to the resumption of substantive negotiations.”