Simon Coveney
Simon Coveney Reuters

Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney will visit Israel as part of a four-day working visit to the Middle East which starts on Tuesday.

According to a statement from Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Coveney will travel first to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and will also visit Jordan, where he will officially open Ireland’s new Embassy alongside the Jordanian Foreign Minister, Ayman Safadi.

"During this visit I will meet with a range of Israeli and Palestinian political leaders, representatives of UN agencies and civil society. I will speak clearly and frankly about negative trends, including violence, demolitions, evictions, and settlement activity that are causing ongoing suffering and threaten to erode the prospect of a negotiated two State solution. In the past week we have seen further negative developments in terms of settlement activity and civil society space which I have spoken out against. I will use this opportunity to again convey my concerns and call for the end of such acts," said Coveney ahead of the visit.

Coveney’s visit comes as relations between Israel and Ireland have been tense in recent years. In May, Coveney decried Israel’s counter-terror operations in the Gaza Strip as “brutal”, and said Israel “should be condemned”.

The Israeli government subsequently summoned the Irish ambassador for clarifications following Coveney’s comments.

Also in May, Ireland’s government supported a parliamentary motion condemning the “de facto annexation of Palestinian land by Israel”.

In 2019, the Irish parliament approved a law promoting a boycott of Judea and Samaria products.

A year earlier, Coveney said Ireland may recognize a Palestinian state if peace talks with Israel aimed at producing a two-state solution continue to stagnate.

In 2014, Irish lawmakers approved a non-binding symbolic motion urging their government to recognize “Palestine” as a state.