Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Brendan Smith TD, has condemned the latest settlement plans by Israel to claim almost 1,000 acres near Bethlehem in the West Bank.
Deputy Smith believes the latest move will serve to undermine the recently declared fragile peace between Israel and Palestine.
“The latest actions by the Israeli Government threaten the peace which was recently agreed between Israel and Hamas and will only further escalate already heightened tensions in the region. Not only is this move ill-advised in the circumstances, it is also contrary to international law. These actions will further undermine the possibility of a two state solution in the Middle East.
“These actions are totally unacceptable. It is time for the EU to send a clear message to Israel that we will not tolerate further settlement advancement. The often promised labelling requirements both at EU and at national level for products from Israeli settlement areas and other sanctions against these goods must be implemented across the Union now.”
EU must Coordinate United Approach to Middle East Humanitarian Crisis – FF
Appointment of new High Representative for Foreign Affairs key in offering credible voice on international stage
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Brendan Smith TD has stated that the European Union must coordinate its approach in seeking to address the horrific humanitarian crisis which is ongoing in Syria, Gaza and Iraq. The recently published UN Report showing that the number of Syrian refugees is now over 3 million people should spur a renewed effort from the EU in seeking to assist those who find themselves without a home as a result of the conflict there. The EU must also develop a Union wide response to the threat from the terrorist group Isis and ensure that all Member States are prepared and have a strategy to deal with the return of Islamic combatants to Europe.
Deputy Smith stated: “The news this week that the number of Syrian refugees has now gone beyond 3 million is shocking and shows the enormous crisis which is developing on Europe’s doorstep. This figure publish by the United Nations does not include hundreds of thousands of others who fled without registering as refugees. The conditions within the country now are increasingly horrifying and the UN report states that people are going hungry and civilians are being targeted or indiscriminately killed.”
“Similarly in Gaza, the recent conflict has displaced about a fourth of Gaza’s population. Nearly 60,000 people have lost their homes. The damage to infrastructure there is more severe than the destruction caused by either of the last two Gaza wars according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. Yet the humanitarian assistance required in Gaza has not materialised in a timely or effective way due to the unstable peace which has been declared. The EU must impress on the rest of the international community that they must honour their obligations and commitments to increase humanitarian assistance for the Middle East region.”
“Europe must provide a coordinated plan of humanitarian assistance to ensure that EU aid and foreign policy helps those who have been displaced and challenges those who have prolonged these conflicts. The EU too must be vigilant against the possible radicalisation of its citizens from returning combatants in the conflicts in Iraq and Syria. We must develop a comprehensive strategy to guard against the infiltration of Jihadists within our societies. The EU must take every action necessary to help those seeking to defeat the terrorist group known as Isis and protect our borders from their ideas and their people.”
“I would urge European leaders gathering at the weekend’s meeting of the European Council to agree as quickly as possible to the appointment of a new EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy who can provide a united European voice. The failure to appoint a new High Representative in July undermined the EU’s credibility on the international stage, especially at a time of such unrest in the world. Europe needs a strong voice now more than ever. This appointment must be made without delay.”
NOTE: This statement was issued on August 29th, 2014.
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs & Trade Brendan Smith has called on the Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade Eamon Gilmore to seek an emergency meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council to address the escalating crisis between Palestine and Israel. While Fianna Fáil welcomed the EU call for all sides to exercise maximum restraint to avoid casualties and to do their utmost to achieve an immediate ceasefire, it is clear that more needs to be done to create a pathway to peace.
Deputy Smith stated: “We are now witnessing a daily escalation of atrocities. Retaliation will only result in further retaliation. Innocent people on both sides are being killed and injured, and these casualties will only breed more hatred.
Deputy Smith continued: “Now is the time for the European Union to show leadership in finding a path for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. I am calling on Minister Gilmore to seek an emergency meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council to find a way to guide both sides away from conflict and secure an immediate ceasefire.
“This is an issue Fianna Fáil has consistently raised in Dáil Éireann and there is a need for the Minister for Foreign Affairs to highlight this ongoing conflict at a European and international level”.
Fianna Fáil Condemns Renewed Violence in Middle East
“EU must take a more hands-on approach to Middle East crisis” says Brendan Smith TD, Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs & Trade
Fianna Fáil’s Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, Brendan Smith TD has called for a renewed urgency in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in light of the outbreak of recent violence in the region.
Deputy Smith stated: “The endless cycle of violence and recrimination is appalling and a total failure of politics and diplomacy.
“The European Union must try to raise its game and play a more active role in peace talks. The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton should request a meeting with the leaders of both governments and seek to lift the pace of progress. The Lisbon Treaty expanded the powers that the EU has in foreign affairs. The failure of the Quartet on the Middle East to develop a comprehensive and lasting roadmap for peace is lamentable. The EU must seek to re-energise this process also.
“We know in our own country how difficult and challenging it can be to win peace. Nonetheless, peace is achievable with committed effort and support. This latest pointless violence shows how necessary it is for the international community to apply real pressure in pursuit of peace”.