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Aengus ó'Snodaig T.D. Speaks on Palestine

21 February, 2009 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

A chairde,

Tá áthas orm labhairt anseo anocht ar na run rí-thabhachtach san rannóg seo, an rannóg Idirnáisiúnta. Tá mé ag lorg tacaíocht ach go h-áirithe do ruin éigeandála an Ard Chomhairle faoin Phailistín. Chonaic muid ar fad tréimhse an Nollaig agus isteach san Athbhliain ár Iosrael agus iad ag ionsaí pobal Ghaza de shíor ar feadh trí sheachtain.

Aontaím go h-iomlán le rún 5 ach fágfaidh do teachta eile deileál leis, agus mar a chéanna le rún 2, 3 agus 4 faoi an streachailt i dTír na Bascach agus an iarracht leanúnach diúltiú do chearta cainte, de chearta náisiúnta na mBascaigh. Tá mo thacaíocht libh i gcónaí.

Barack Obama was elected in November and much of the world is looking on in hope that his election will herald the promised new era in US foreign policy. That his administration will pay heed to the calls for an end to the era of aggressive foreign policy, an end to torture and torture camps, an end to extraordinary rendition, and an end to the support for regimes such as Israel which continue to flaunt international judgements against them. Closing Guantanamo is not enough.

On that matter I have urged Micheal Martin the Minister for Foreign Affairs to help in this closure by agreeing to host innocent detainees who have been tortured and incarcerated in Guantanamo for years. It's the least Ireland can do, especially as the government were complicit in the extraordinary rendition procedure through allowing the unfettered use of Shannon Airport for US secret flights - the detainees who have been cleared of all allegations against them by even the US administration under Bush, but they have nowhere to return to because their lives at home are at risk because of the label Bush and his mob put on them.

In November also I travelled to Gaza, to see for myself the damage of two years of an Israeli siege on this part of Palestine. No food, other than UN food convoys was getting in, no medicines, no building materials, no school books, no medical equipment and I can go on. I saw for myself the deprivation. I saw the refugee camps, I saw the food distribution centres, the bombed out airport, port and electricity stations. I saw the UNWRA run schools, the other relief programmes. I saw the hospitals, the kidney dialysis machine held together with parts of other defunct machines, the brand new cancer hospital which could not function because Israel wouldn't allow the equipment through the six border crossings they control, including the Rafah crossing into Egypt. I saw the sewage being pumped into the Mediterranean because the sewerage system couldn't be repaired or renewed since the Israelis lay siege after withdrawing in 2006. I met the fishermen who daily during a supposed ceasefire came under fire from Israeli gunboats because they were fishing outside the Israeli imposed limit of 6 miles, while the international limit was 20 miles. I met with the families of prisoners, some who hadn't seen their siblings since they were lifted, some for years. One was a very old woman with cataracts in her failing eyes, who will probably never see again. We met the elected parliamentarians, who sat in the Legislative Assembly while 48 of their colleagues languished in jails. This was all before the Christmas onslaught by a vicious Israeli government which now stands indicted by their actions of crimes against humanity and having breached virtually every international rule of war. All done as an effort at genocide, an election stunt and a marker to the international community that they expected the US policy towards them to remain the same under the new president.

Despicably this evil government has its cheerleaders in Ireland, thankfully very few, but still vocal, who would have us believe that it was all the fault of Hamas. The Israelis were attacking the Palestinians well before Hamas was ever thought of. Their territorial land grab on the West Bank has continued apace for years and despite UN condemnation, continues today.

This is a rogue state, which must be brought to book for the sake of all humanity and especially for the sake of peace in this region. I urge you play your part in the ongoing campaigns for rights, national and human for the Palestinian people.

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