Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney called the vote a “clear signal of the depth of feeling across Ireland”.
But the lower house of the Irish parliament rejected an amendment calling to expel the Israeli ambassador in Dublin.
Ireland is with Belgium, Sweden and Luxembourg amongst the most critical EU countries towards Israel.
The Irish parliament has voted a motion condemning Israel’s “de facto annexation” of the West Bank but rejected an amendment calling to expel the Israeli ambassador in Dublin.
It is the first time that a EU member state uses the term ‘’de facto annexation.’’ Ireland is with Belgium, Sweden and Luxembourg amongst the most critical EU countries towards Israel.
The motion in the Dail, the lower house of the parliament, was sponsored by John Brady, a member of parliament for the opposition party Sinn Féin, but goverment and opposition parties united to back it.
Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney called the vote a “clear signal of the depth of feeling across Ireland”. He said the centre-right government had backed the motion because of what he described as Israel’s “manifestly unequal” treatment of the Palestinian people.
“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,” Coveney told the Dail.
“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.”
Coveney said that a condemnation of the recent rocket attacks on Israel by the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas must be added to the statement before he agreed to government support for the motion.
“The acts of terror by Hamas and other militant groups in firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel … cannot and should not ever be justified,” the minister said.
However, the opposition Sinn Féin party refused to support the government amendment condemning the Hamas rockets.
The Israeli foreign ministry rejected what it called Ireland’s “outrageous and baseless position” regarding Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).
“The motion that was adopted in the Irish parliament constitutes a victory for extremist Palestinian factions. This motion distances Ireland from its ambition to contribute and play a constructive role in the Israeli-Palestinian context,” the ministry said.
Jackie Goodall, executive director of the Ireland-Israel Alliance, called the adoption a “damaging day for Ireland’s reputation on the world stage.” “Ireland’s actions today do not serve the cause of peace. Rather they embolden Palestinian terrorism, from Hamas war crimes to the Palestinian Authority’s Pay-For-Slay policy,” she added.