Ireland signs deal to support vulnerable Palestinians

Some €200,000 of funding is to be provided this year

Ireland signs deal to support vulnerable Palestinians

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney and Hanibal Abiy Worku, Norwegian Refugee Council Country Director - Palestine, sign a grant agreement in East Jerusalem on Ireland's membership of the West Bank Protection Consortium | Image: Dept of Foreign Affairs/

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has signed an agreement to join a humanitarian consortium supporting vulnerable Palestinian communities in the West Bank.

The deal, signed in Ramallah, establishes a new partnership between Ireland and the West Bank Protection Consortium.

Funding of €200,000 is to be provided in 2017.

The consortium is made up of a network of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and international donors, and works with communities in the West Bank - including East Jerusalem.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister Coveney said: "This is an important new partnership for Ireland and underlines our commitment to reducing the vulnerability of Palestinian communities living in Area C of the West Bank.

"Since its establishment in 2015, the consortium has played a leading role in supporting threatened communities and co-ordinating the provision of essential services, including material assistance and legal aid.

"The humanitarian situation in the West Bank remains difficult.

"Demolition of houses and restrictions on freedom of movement and on access to essential services have all impacted negatively on vulnerable Palestinian communities."

He added: "Ireland and our EU partners have consistently condemned the building of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and the evictions, demolitions and land seizures from Palestinians which are an integral part of that project.

"Ireland’s foreign policy accords a high priority to efforts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and we consider that a comprehensive peace based on two sovereign states, and the ending of the occupation, is essential to the future of both Palestinians and Israelis."

Minister Coveney is on the final day of his visit to the Middle East.

During the trip he also met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who accused Ireland of supporting NGOs who want to "destroy" his country.