For IMEMC News, Niall Ă“ BrolchĂˇin:Â Some of the crowd who gathered in Derry to protest against Israelâ€™s proposed illegal annexation of the West Bank and Jordan Valley. Photo: Niall Ă“ BrolchĂˇin
The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) held socially-distanced protests across Ireland on Saturday 4 July, against the proposed illegal, unilateral annexation of the West Bank by the apartheid Israeli regime.Â This is in addition to the already illegal annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights and Palestinian East Jerusalem.Â In a statement it said:
â€śWith the full backing of the US, and a virtual silence from the EU, from 1st of July, Apartheid Israel says it will begin the process of annexing some 30% of the Palestinian land it occupies, in total violation of international law.
We call on the Irish and EU governments to TAKE ACTION to punish the Apartheid State of Israel…for this blatant land theft and grave violation of international lawâ€ť.
At the Derry protest, held at Free Derry Corner, Catherine Hutton, Chairperson of the Derry branch of the IPSC, said:
â€śThe illegal annexation of Palestinian land has been ongoing for over half a century via military orders on the pretext of security, informal land grabs, Knesset legislation, apartheid segregation etc.Â The imminent annexation of large swathes of the West Bank and Jordan Valley is an expression of the impunity that Israel enjoys because of the inaction of the international community.
We must call on our governments and EU to impose sanctions if this latest large scale annexation goes ahead as planned.Â lip service is not enough.Â Concrete action is needed and quickly before Palestinians lose what little land they have.Â As UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), Michelle Bachelet, speaking on Monday in Geneva said: â€śAnnexation is illegal.Â Period.Â Any annexation.Â Whether it is 30% of the West Bank or 5%.â€ť
â€śWe gathered here at Free Derry Corner to show solidarity and add our voices to pressure our governments and EU to take action and sanction Israelâ€ť, said Catherine.
Protests in other Irish cities
As well as Derry, protests were also held in Omagh, Limerick, Ennis and Dublin.
Action on Annexation â€“ Sign, write and protest
Apart from protesting, IPSC also asks people to take simple actions to put pressure on politicians for real and meaningful action, not hollow platitudes, in defence of the Palestinian people and their right to self-determination and freedom!
Sign & Share the Avaaz petition
We ask you toÂ please sign and share this very important Avaaz petitionÂ calling for international sanctions. The petition has gathered over 1.5 million signatures over only a few days!
Contact the Department of Foreign Affairs to demand action
Now that we (eventually) have a new government here in Ireland we need to put pressure on them to take action. We know that, due to domestic public pressure, at the EU level Ireland is one of the main countries pushing for some kind of action â€“ and we need to keep the pressure on.
We ask everyone toÂ email or (preferably) call the Department of Foreign Affairs and DefenceÂ to raise your concerns at the lack of international action to stop Israelâ€™s annexation and the repeated and continued failure to punish serious international law and human rights violations, and to urge thatÂ Ireland push for sanctions at the EU level. In this regard, our main demands are for theÂ suspension of Israel from the EU-Israel (Euromed) Association Agreement and from the Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe funding programs.
The EU-Israel Association Agreement grants Israel trading privileges with the EU (in fact, the EU is Israelâ€™s biggest trade partner) while the Horizon programs see hundreds of millions of EU taxpayer money funnelled to Israeli entities â€“ including arms manufacturers â€“ every year. Thanks to these EU funding programs, Israel-based entities have received billions of euros; by the end of Horizon 2020 program alone, someÂ â‚¬1.4 billionÂ will have gone to such entities.
There should be no special EU privileges for serial human rights abusing, international law violating and an institutionally racist apartheid state like Israel.
We also ask you to remind the government that even though theÂ Occupied Territories BillÂ is not explicitly in the Programme for Government, it is aÂ vital and necessary measure to end Irelandâ€™s complicityÂ with Israelâ€™s illegal colonial settlements, and should be passed into law â€“ and Ireland should be pushing for an EU-wide ban on trade with the settlements.
Finally, we ask you to reiterate the demand for a bilateralÂ arms embargo on IsraelÂ – no one should profit from the murder and maiming of Palestinians.
Email the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence, Simon Coveneny:Â firstname.lastname@example.org
Call the Department of Foreign Affairs:Â (01) 408 2000
You can read IPSCâ€™s statement about Israel’s illegal annexation plan here: Sunset for international law? Israelâ€™s annexation plan and the re-partition of Palestine: https://www.ipsc.ie/statements/sunset-for-international-law