Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney is set to visit Israel amid tensions between the two countries over settlement construction and Defense Ministry Benny Gantz labeling six Palestinian non-governmental groups as terror entities.
It is Coveney’s fifth trip to Israel in the last four years and his first since Prime Minister Naftali Bennett took office in May.
“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,” he said.
Coveney is due to arrive late Monday night and will meet Tuesday with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz).
This will be his first in-depth conversation with Lapid since the new government was sworn in, although the two did meet briefly in Brussels in July when Lapid attended a meeting of the European Union’s foreign ministers.
Coveney will have an audience with President Issac Herzog, whose grandfather Yitzhak Halevi Herzog was Ireland’s chief Rabbi from 1919-1936.
IN ADDITION, COVENEY WILL deliver addresses to the Israel Council on Foreign Relations and to The Hebrew University, where he will discuss his country’s views on the Middle East and its role in the United Nations Security Council.
While in Jerusalem, Coveney will also meet with UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland.
On Wednesday, Coveney will HEAD to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian officials and representatives from international organizations and civil society groups.
From Israel, Coveney heads to Jordan where he will meet with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and inaugurate Ireland’s new embassy building there.
This is “an important milestone in the deepening of ties between our two countries. Jordan is an important partner in the region and I look forward to discussing a broad spectrum of issues, including bilateral relations and trade, the Syrian conflict, the Middle East Peace Process, and the challenges facing the wider region,” Coveney said.