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Following the execution of 47 men in Saudi Arabia on January 2, the situation in the Middle East is deteriorating.
Our relations with all countries in the Middle East need to be reviewed with the intention of promoting long-term human rights and human justice rather than short-term economic expediency.
Ireland should also support proper UN peacmaking initiatives in the region as well as challenging UN failures.
Recent developments in the Golan Heights are of particular concern and call into question the rushed decision by the Irish government to deploy 130 Irish soldiers with UNDOF after Austria withdrew its peacekeepers in 2013 when they were forced to abandon their positions in the UN buffer zone and redeploy to the Israeli-occupied part of Golan.
The UNDOF Golan mission has existed since 1974 and was intended to supervise the return of Israeli occupied Golan Heights to Syria. UNEF 11 in Sinai had a similar mission to supervise the return of Israeli-occupied Sinai to Egypt and this was achieved by 1982.
UNDOF has failed to achieve its primary mission over the past 42 years and is arguably now achieving the opposite, by helping to copperfasten Israeli occupation and annexation of the Golan Heights.
The illegal annexation of the Golan Heights by Israel is not just a matter of strategic security.
Significant quantities of oil have been discovered in the Israeli-occupied part of the Syrian Golan Heights.
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