Government policy on Palestine “wilfully shameful” - Gerry Adams TD
Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has described the Government’s decision to oppose the Occupied Territories Bill which seeks to block trade in goods from illegal Israeli settlements, as “reprehensible”.
The Louth TD was speaking in the Dáil debate on the Bill – introduced by Seanadóir Frances Black – and passed by the Seanad.
Teachta Adams commended the work of Seanadóir Frances Black and the Seanad for passing the Bill.
Teachta Adams said:
“In contrast to the Seanad the Government’s policy toward Palestine is reprehensible. The refusal to honour its Programme for Government commitment to recognise the state of Palestine, and to implement the democratic vote of both Houses of the Oireachtas to give formal recognition to a Palestinian state, is wilfully shameful.
"Today and yesterday there were Israeli attacks on Gaza. Ten years ago this month Israeli forces invaded the Gaza Strip. That resulted in 13 dead on the Israeli side and one thousand four hundred and seventeen Palestinians killed. Among them three hundred and thirteen children.
"I visited Israel and the Gaza Strip not long after that first assault. I was horrified by the scale of the human tragedy. The UN report into that 2009 invasion concluded that it was a deliberate disproportionate attack by Israel designed to punish, humiliate and terrorise a civilian population.
"The Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands; the separation wall; the theft of water rights and of land for illegal settlements, have been well documented. All are in breach of international law.
"The state of Israel is a first world, nuclear armed, economic power oppressing a largely powerless, impoverished Palestinian people.
"Despite the fine work done by many Israeli citizens and NGOs, despite support in Israel for a peace process, the state of Israeli snubs diplomacy; rejects international criticism, has no interest in peaceful alternatives; and does not see armed force as a measure of last resort.
"On the contrary its sees brute military force as Israel’s measure of first resort.
"Yes, we recognise the state of Israel despite its flagrant breach of international law and human rights. I have no issue with that. But why is one state recognised and the other. Why are no sanctions being brought forward?
"On Monday we celebrated An Chéad Dáil. That was an illegal act. If we followed the rationale of Minister Coveney those who assembled would not have done anything. Nothing.
"They would have sat and decided to do nothing. Women still wouldn’t have the vote if we followed that rationale. Slavery would still be legal.
"If we followed the Minister’s rational. And no one anywhere in the world would have won one right if we followed his rationale
"So we as a former colony, still partitioned and occupied in part by a government we don’t want; with our proud history of freedom struggle; of resistance; and our peace process; if we don’t support the rights of Palestinians who will?
"There is no wrong time to do the right thing. The government should support the Occupied Territories Bill."