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7 February 2018

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Ó Donnghaile challenges government over demolition of Irish funded-schools by Israelis

The wreckage of an Irish-funded school in Palestine.

“This is another example of brutal daily reality that Palestinians face under Israel’s occupation and enforced apartheid regime." - Niall Ó Donnghaile

Sinn Féin Seanadóir Niall Ó Donnghaile has challenged the Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Ciarán Cannon and the Irish government to hold Israel to account over its continuing demolishment of projects funded by Irish Aid and other EU countries in the occupied West Bank.

Speaking in the Seanad, Seanadóir Ó Donnghaile said:  “Minister, Israeli authorities on Sunday tore down two EU-funded classrooms that were part of a school for Bedouins in the occupied West Bank because they said they were built illegally.

The 700 strong community in Abu al-Nawwar has been at the forefront of sustained Israeli aggression for a number of years - as the government plans to establish the massive E1 settlement project in East Jerusalem.

Sunday marks the fifth time that classrooms in this East Jerusalem school have been demolished since February 2016, Seanadóir questioned whether Leo Varadkar's government will seek compensation from the Israeli government in the aftermath of the destruction. 

“How do you plan on holding Israel to account for destroying schools built with Irish and EU tax payers money? Will you demand compensation and the rebuilding of the schools?” He continued.

In 2016, the Israeli military demolished the school which had received funding from EU countries, however, it was quickly rebuilt by local residents with no access to power, technology or playground facilities.

“This is another example of brutal daily reality that Palestinians face under Israel’s occupation and enforced apartheid regime,” he concluded. 

Seanadóir Ó Donnghaile also called on the Irish Government to implement the 2014 decision of the Oireachtas by formally recognise the state of Palestine.

“Minister, it is time for you to respect the democratic wishes of the Seanad and the Dáil, as well as the Irish people, and urgently officially recognise the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital,” he said. 

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