Deputy Patrick Costello speaks during Pre-EU Council statements on the effects of vaccine nationalism and the need for the EU to highlight the consequences of trade with illegal Israeli settlements.
This is a great opportunity. Many people have spoken about vaccine nationalism. My Green Party colleagues and I had a positive meeting with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Coveney, regarding the issue of vaccinations for Palestinians.
This is a particularly vulnerable group, given the cruel and repressive occupation they are under, and we have seen the impact of vaccine nationalism there. I urge the Minister to use the opportunity to raise this issue and to drive action on it with our EU colleagues.
Recently, Avraham Burg, a former speaker of the Knesset, wrote a letter to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy that was signed by a total of 466 members of parliament from throughout the member states. I was one of many Deputies who signed this letter calling to use the change of administration in the United States as an opportunity to re-engage in the issue of peace and ending the occupation of Palestine. We cannot go on with business as usual. There was a 185% increase in the number of demolitions in the start of this year compared with the start of last year. Two Israeli NGOs, Ir Amim and Bimkom, have warned that significant demolitions are coming in al-Walaja, a precarious village with a long history I will not get into now.
We need to find new ways of doing things. One simple matter I ask the Minister to raise relates to the EU business advisory on potential legal, financial or ethical consequences for doing business in the Israeli settlements. Ireland has published this business warning on the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs and several other member states have done something similar, but the EU’s external action service has not done this. This is a very simple ask. There is generally good consensus among member states on this at least, if not on other actions. I ask the Minister to raise the issue.