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On the 25th of May 2021, following months of work from Sadaka, Trócaire, Christian Aid, ICTU, and collaboration from both Government and Opposition, the Dáil has supported a parliamentary motion condemning the de facto annexation of Palestinian land by Israel, developed by John Brady TD, Sinn Féin (video of speech here). Simon Coveney, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence, supported the motion, stating that "the current escalation of violence has not happened in isolation" and called for the international community to be "honest about what is happening on the ground." Following a vote on Wednesday 26th May 2021, Ireland has become the first country within the EU to recognise de facto annexation, paving the way for others to follow. The full video of the debate can be found here (starts at 3:59:00).

Palestinian Loss of Land 1947 to Present Palestinian Loss of Land 1947 to Present
Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is based on a long term plan of annexation of Palestinian territory into the state of Israel. Annexation of territory taken in war, or under threat of war, is illegal. This is a fundamental principle and has the status of a peremptory norm in international law. It is a cornerstone of international peace and security.

Central to Israel’s annexation plan has been the transfer of more than 650,000settlers into Palestinian territory. This unlawful transfer amounts to a war crime under article 8(2)(a)(vii) of the Rome Statute.

The term 'annexation' refers to the forcible acquisition of territory by a State. It is a breach of the longstanding rule of international law that a State cannot acquire the territory of another State by force. This rule is accepted by the international community as fundamental, to which no exception can be made.2

A 'settler only' road linking an illegal settlement on Palestinian Territory with Israel A 'settler only' road linking an illegal settlement on Palestinian Territory with Israel - a core component of Israel's annexation plans. (Photo: Marie Crawley 2017)
Annexation can take place in two ways. On the one hand, a State can formally extend its powerover territory it has forcibly acquired, such as by passing a law to this effect. This is referred to as de jure annexation, and signals the States intent to formally acquire a permanent title over a territory.

Alternatively, a State can exercise effective control over a territory that it has forcibly acquired, without any accompanying formal declaration. This might involve, for example, the application of certain domestic laws to that territory, or measures, such as population transfer, to alter the territory’s demographics. This is referred to as de facto annexation and is often a precursor to de jure annexation. Importantly, both forms of annexation are equally unlawful under international law.1

Palestinian Loss of Land 1947 to Present
Jerusalem with 'Separation Wall' in foreground Photo: Jennifer Byrne 2017)
The fact that the West Bank has not been formally annexed does not stop Israel from treating it as if it were its own territory, particularly when it comes to the massive resources Israel invests in building illegal settlements and establishing infrastructure to serve their residents. This policy has enabled the establishment of hundreds of settlements, connecting them to Israel through a system of ‘settler only' roads, displacing thousands of Palestinians, and transforming the geography of the West Bank beyond recognition.

1. Annexation of the West Bank: It Has Already Happened (Sadaka Briefing No. 49)

Contact us

Sadaka - the Ireland Palestine Alliance
PO BOX 110
Ballyshannon PO
Co. Donegal
Email: info@sadaka.ie

Sadaka logo Sadaka - the Ireland Palestine Alliance,   PO Box 110,   Ballyshannon PO,   Co. Donegal,   Ireland    Email: info@sadaka.ie Sadaka logo