The Government has allocated a further €2 million in support for the Palestinian people.

The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides essential services to 5.7 million registered Palestine refugees in the occupied Palestinian territory, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, will administer the funding.

Ireland has made a total of €8 million in contributions to UNRWA this year.

Earlier, the Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said Ireland and the international community need to send a message to the Palestinian people to give them hope for the future.

He was speaking after a meeting with his counterpart, Palestinian Minister for Foreign Affairs Riyad Al Maliki.

Minister Al Maliki told journalists in Dublin that the situation in Palestine is "very dire, very difficult. We are in bad times but we are heading towards worse times".

He was part of a Palestinian delegation including President Mahmoud Abbas which stopped in Dublin on its way to UN meetings in New York.

The Palestinian Authority has been seeking full UN membership which would require a vote of the UN Security Council.

There have been reports that Palestine would apply for full membership this week, prompting a vote on the security council.

The United States, which as a permanent member of the Security Council has a veto, has warned the Palestinians off applying at this time saying there can be no shortcuts to full statehood.

Speaking in Dublin, Minister Al-Maliki said Palestine had been given observer status ten years ago and has proven it is ready for full membership.

"When we feel that we can master the nine votes minimum without a veto then we will go, and even with a veto I think we will go."

He added it may not necessarily be this week but could be "anytime in the near future".

'We are at a moment of hopelessness for some Palestinians'

Minister Simon Coveney said: "We do need, in the months ahead, to send signals to young Palestinians that politics can work, that the injustice they are living with and under can change through politics and not violence or radicalisation."

He added: "We are at a moment of hopelessness for some Palestinians which needs a response from the international community."

The Minister said if there were to be a vote in the security council on admitting Palestine as a full member, Ireland would vote in favour but added: "I don't believe that's likely unfortunately in the next few weeks."

Minister Al Maliki said that he believes the situation in Palestine will become worse because: "Israel always feels immune from any accountability and that's why Israel continues violating the basic fundamental rights of the Palestinian people, violating international law, not adhering or respecting UN Security Council resolutions especially Resolution 2334 on settlements and confiscation of land."

He added that the fact that elections in Israel are approaching does not help as there is competition amongst parties to show they will be the hardest on Palestinians.

He said "we do feel, today, the absence of leaders like Rabin and Peres who took responsibility to move forward in trying really to find peace between us and them".

Minister Coveney, when asked about allegations that Ireland was the European country least sympathetic to Israel, replied that "Ireland wants a good relationship with Israel..but we need that conversation to be frank and honest. In many ways Israel is a great country but Israel treats Palestinians in a way that is unacceptable and illegal."

He said the expansion of settlements and expulsion of people was having a corrosive impact on Israel's relations with Palestinians.

He said Irish peacekeepers had lost their lives serving with UNIFIL "so we aren't without sacrifice in relation to instability and violence in the middle east" and Ireland wants "to take an honest approach here and wants to use international law and UN resolutions as the benchmark by which we hold political leaders to account, and that's why we're vocal, that's why I'm vocal, that's why the Taoiseach is, that's why the President is and we will continue to be".

"It's absolutely not anti-Israeli. What we want here is to contribute to a peace process that's good for Israel, good for Israelis but fair and good for Palestinians too," the Minister added.