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Statement by Micheál Martin TD, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs on illegal Israeli settlements

I condemn recent decisions by the Israeli administration to advance over 5,500 further housing units in West Bank settlements, including the retroactive regularisation of three illegal outposts. Under international law, all Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, are illegal. I urge Israel to reverse these decisions and to immediately cease all settlement activities across the occupied Palestinian territory. Such decisions are an obstacle to a just and lasting peace, are being taken at a time of increased fragility and an escalating cycle of violence, including the shocking scenes of extreme settler violence witnessed in the West Bank villages of Turmus Ayya and Urif, and the killing of four Israeli civilians in Eli. In particular, the legal responsibility of Israel, as the occupying power, is to protect all civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory. I also strongly condemn the provocative and irresponsible statements made by an Israeli Cabinet Minister during his visit to the illegal Israeli outpost at Eviatar last week. It is imperative that actions by all parties are in line with international law and contribute to breaking this shocking cycle of violence. The high-level engagement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority earlier this week, including between Presidents Herzog and Abbas, is encouraging. I join with international partners in calling upon Israel to fulfil the commitments they made in Aqaba and Sharm El Sheikh and for all parties to return to dialogue aimed at de-escalation and the restoration of a political horizon. The only lasting solution to the conflict can be through relaunching meaningful negotiations between the parties on realising a two-State solution. ENDS