Irish activists in solidarity with Palestine were celebrating in Dublin Monday.
The city council passed a motion calling for trade sanctions and an arms embargo on Israel in response to Israel’s latest murderous rampage in the Gaza Strip, condemning it as “the third massive attack on a largely defenseless civilian population of 1.8 million people in five and half years.”
The motion calls for “an arms embargo” and suspension of Israel from the Euro-Med preferential trade agreement. It also mandates the council to send a delegation to the Irish foreign minister “to encourage the Irish government to take concrete and immediate action” on these sanctions.
Dublin councillor Tina MacVeigh of the People Before Profit Alliance told The Electronic Intifada over the phone that she had proposed the motion so that concrete action would take place: “motions have been passed before but nothing actually gets done.”
She said that she ultimately hoped the Israeli ambassador could be expelled from Ireland.
Otherwise, she said, we’re going to come back to the same situation in two years time when another massive Israeli attack on Gaza takes place. “It’s now or never as far as I’m concerned,” she added.
She said that tomorrow, thousands would march in solidarity in Dublin again, and encouraged everyone there to make a personal commitment to take action, and to raise the issue with their elected representatives.
“We have to keep the pressure on,” she said.
The motion was immediately welcomed and publicized by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC).
Kevin Squires of IPSC told The Electronic Intifada over the phone today: “It’s clear that Dublin City Council has decided to listen to the call of Palestinian civil society groups like the BNC [BDS National Committee], and are to be congratulated.”
“We can now say the city of Dublin supports justice for the Palestinian people,” he said, “specifically in the form of an arms embargo on Israel and that country’s suspension from the Euro-Med agreement for human rights violations.”
Israel’s mass violence
In an IPSC press release, Tina MacVeigh said: “Israel’s acts of mass violence against the Palestinian people are always the subject of great public and moral outrage, condemned by many democratically elected institutions, however, Israel is never held to account.”
She added: “This motion is important as it condemns Israel’s perpetual use of illegal activities such as administrative detention and collective punishment, while calling on the Irish government to take concrete action.”
In the press release, IPSC chairperson Martin O’Quigley welcomed the resolution, saying that although Israel was “once again committing gross violations of international law, it continues to evade sanction. Motions such as this one … are to be welcomed and celebrated. The international impunity gifted to Israel emboldens that state to continue carrying out atrocities.”
Israel’s advocates in Ireland already seem to be worried about the new motion.
The Electronic Intifada has seen several emails, apparently from anti-Palestinian groups in Ireland, that were sent en masse this week to all Dublin city councillors. They contain standard Israeli talking points about Gaza, and attack councillors for passing the motion.
Ireland and Israel
Ireland has in the past spent millions of euros on weapons from Israel. These are often field-tested on Palestinians.
The current foreign minister of Ireland, Charlie Flanagan, has been extremely defensive of Israel in the past.
In 2012, before he was a minister, he attacked Trocaire, the international development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland, after it had called for an end to European Union money going to illegal Israeli settlements built on Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank.
Flanagan said Trocaire were “waging this campaign against Israel. I believe it is biased and partisan … It is my belief they are now engaged in a very partisan political campaign that is beyond their remit.”
On Wednesday Flanagan gave a speech in Ireland’s parliament, the Dáil, calling on “both sides” in Gaza to cease fire, but mostly blaming Hamas. Apparently utilizing Israeli army propaganda as talking points, he claimed that an “estimated 1,260 rockets have been fired from Gaza” and that Israeli airstrikes were being carried out “in response.”
Full text of the motion
(Proposed by Cllr. Tina Veigh – People Before Profit Alliance)
Dublin City Council
- Recognizing that this is the third massive attack on largely defenceless civilian population of 1.8 million people in 5 and half years in which 162 Palestinians have been killed, of whom 137 are civilians, including 34 children and 28 women, and 1,058 others wounded, mostly civilians, including 332 children and 212 women;
- Noting that at least 125 Palestinian political prisoners were on hunger strike for over 60 days in Israeli prisons in protest at their conditions and the occupation’s use of Administrative Detention orders to imprison Palestinians;
- Recognising that Administrative Detention is a form of internment “without charge or trial for periods of up to six months, which can be renewed repeatedly”;
- Noting that Israeli Administrative Detention violates international laws including the Geneva Convention and that Amnesty has said that the policy “violates the right to a fair trial”, has been used “to trample on the human rights of detainees for decades”, and is used to “suppress the legitimate and peaceful activities of activists”;
- Noting that Amnesty says many prisoners “have suffered torture and other ill-treatment during interrogation, as well as during their detention, sometimes as punishment for hunger strikes or other protests”, and that the Israeli government is trying to implement legislation that will allow force feeding of hunger strikers, a practice condemned by the World Medical Association;
- Noting that Amnesty has said that “Israel must release all Palestinians held under long-standing administrative detention laws or charge and try them promptly and fairly”;
- Recognising that a fair trial is unlikely under the Israeli military court system which has a 99.74% conviction rate for Palestinians, and which Amnesty has said does “not meet international standards for fair trial”;
- Expresses a message of solidarity to those Palestinian political prisoners currently held under Administrative Detention;
- Condemns, and calls for the immediate end of, the use of Administrative Detention by Israeli occupation forces and the immediate and unconditional release of all such detainees;
- Condemns any measure that will allow the force-feeding of hunger strikers;
- Calls upon the Irish government to make the same demands, and to use it’s influence to condemn the current imposition of collective punishment upon the protected people of Palestine by the Israeli state. - calls for an immediate end to Israeli attacks on the people of Gaza as a vital precondition to a lasting ceasefire agreement;
- reiterates our 2010 call for an end to the illegal Israeli-imposed siege of Gaza;
- reiterates our 2010 call for the EU to suspend Israel from the Euro-Med preferential trade agreement, Article 2 of which state that the “provisions of the Agreement itself, shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles, which guides their internal and international policy and constitutes an essential element of this Agreement”;
- joins the international call from Palestinian civil society and human rights organisations like Amnesty International for an arms embargo of Israel;
- commits to send a delegation from DCC of the Lord Mayor and Councillors to meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs to encourage the Irish government to take concrete and immediate action in relation to the above;