Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Darragh O’Brien TD has condemned the escalation in settlement activity and the passing of a bill which retroactively legalises thousands of settler homes built on private Palestinian land.

”I am deeply concerned about the escalation in settlement activity and the passing of a bill which retroactively legalises what are illegal settlements, explained O’Brien.

“This cynical and divisive move by the Israeli Government is an affront to the efforts being made by the international community to find a sustainable and viable solution to the conflict in the Middle East.Furthermore, it is putting a two-state solution in serious jeopardy.

“Whilst transgressions have been committed on both sides, the approval of 6,000 settlement homes in the occupied Palestinian territories in the past fortnight alone significantly diminishes the prospects of Arab-Israeli peace. It also calls into question Israel’s genuine commitment to lasting peace in the region.

“Bringing forward a law, which Israel’s own Attorney General has deemed unconstitutional and which he will not defend it in the Supreme Court, only serves to inflame tensions in the region.

“The latest developments and the actions of Prime Minister Netanyahu and his Government are disheartening and are unfortunately moving us further away from finding a solution to this ongoing conflict,” concluded Deputy O’Brien.