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Trump should concentrate on restarting peace process in Middle East – Howlin

6 December 2017

Statement by Brendan Howlin TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland

Labour Party Leader and spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Brendan Howlin TD, has said the decision by Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will damage long-term peace in the Middle East.

Deputy Howlin said:

“The decision of Donald Trump to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem is a provocative act that damages rather than strengthens the long term peace of the State of Israel and all the people of the region - Arab and Jewish. 

“Those of us who support the rights of the Jewish people to their homeland, and the equal right of the Palestinian people to their own state, will view this act by Trump as a further step on the road away from a two state solution. Such a solution remains the only viable template upon which a peaceful Israel and Palestine can coexist.

“We in Ireland have much reason to remember, with gratitude, the crucial role played by the United States in our own peace process, in particular the work of President Bill Clinton.

“That vital role was only possible because both sides in our conflict were convinced of US impartiality, by the actions of American administrations over many years.

“This act, while ostensibly proffered as pro - Israeli by Trump and his allies on the evangelical Christian Right, is in fact deeply damaging to the people of Israel, as it diminishes further the hope of Middle East peace.

“Sometimes the greatest act of a friend is to speak unpalatable truths. Ireland has long been a close friend of the United States and An Tánaiste should call the senior US diplomat in Ireland in to explain Ireland’s opposition to this dangerous and needless gesture.

“Minister Coveney should also make it clear that Ireland continues to support a two state solution and the resolution of the future status of Jerusalem can only come about as part of those overall negotiations.

“The US should concentrate on restarting the peace process in the Middle East rather than on empty and reckless gesture politics aimed at a domestic audience.”