Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Seán Crowe TD, has criticised the decision and timing of an announcement from the Israeli government that they are to build more settlements in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“The building of these colonial settlements in the occupied Palestine is illegal and contrary to international law. Peace talks between Palestine and Israel have been stalled over the past few years, due to the Israel’s continuation settlement building and expansion, which is destroying the prospect of a two-state solution to the conflict.
“The timing of this announcement from Israel to increase settlement building comes hours after 26 Palestinian prisoners were freed.
“The prisoner release was supposed to be an action which would advance peace negotiations between the two countries, but Israel’s settlement announcement will be very destructive and undermine the negotiation process, and it sends a bad message internationally about Israel's real intentions in these talks.
“The announcement also comes days after the Israeli NGO Peace Now release a report which found that the construction of 1,708 new homes started in occupied West Bank in first half of 2013, which is up by 70 per cent from last year.
“Increased settlement and colony building is destroying any prospects of a peace process. Israel needs to immediately stop its illegal settlement building and show the Palestinians, and the international community, that it is willing and able to respect international law and that it is serious about a peace talks process.
"It’s blatant disregard for international law and illegal actions would suggest the opposite.”