Historic moment as the Irish Dáil supports Sinn Féin motion on Israeli annexation of Palestinian lands

Dublin, Ireland, May 22, 2021. During the march, the crowd stretched 2.3 kilometres.

A vote by the Dublin parliament on May 26 to adopt a Sinn Féin motion condemning the annexation of Palestinian lands by Israel has been hailed as a historic recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. The vote came after thousands turned out across Ireland in support of Palestine the previous weekend in a dramatic display of the level of public anger in Ireland to the latest Israeli onslaught on the Gaza strip, which saw 248 Palestinians, including 66 children, killed by air strikes. Millions of people all over the world have taken to the streets in support of the heroic struggle of the Palestinian Resistance, and to protest against the criminal ethnic cleansing carried out by the Israeli Zionists. The Palestinian Resistance has demonstrated once more that they will continue to fight and expose the Zionists’ schemes to expel the Palestinians from their homeland.

As a sign of appreciation for the solidarity shown by Ireland’s recognition of their right to be, an Irish tricolour flag was raised above Ramallah City Hall in the West Bank on Thursday while Ireland’s national anthem ‘Amhrán na bhFiann’ played in the background.

Galway, May 21, 2021.

Last weekend, thousands of people took to the streets of Ireland last weekend to participate in pro-Palestine marches. More than 20 protests, rallies and vigils were held across Ireland – Belfast, Donegal, Cork, Derry, Dublin, Galway, Letterkenny, Omagh, Portadown, Sligo, Waterford, and more – in response to the violence that has erupted in Gaza in recent weeks organised by the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

A large demonstration was held in Dublin, with protesters meeting at the Spire on O’Connell Street and marching to the Israeli Embassy in Ballsbridge.

During the march, the crowd stretched 2.3 kilometres from Trinity College to the embassy. Chants of “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and “Free, free Palestine” rang out in front of the embassy, where a heavy police presence was in place.

In Belfast (pictured above), hundreds gathered on May 22 at Custom House Square to call for an end to Israeli aggression. Speaking at the rally, Palestinian activist Mohammed Samaana insisted the world must “not allow the Zionists to control the narrative of what’s happening.”

People Before Profit Assembly member Gerry Carroll said Belfast was united in its opposition to the slaughter of innocent civilians.

“They tell us our city is solely about division, is solely about people being against each other, well today our is city is about unity, is about justice, and is about solidarity with the people of Palestine,” he said.

In Derry, several speakers spoke of their first-hand knowledge of the plight of Palestinians in Gaza and elsewhere, while others condemned the latest bombings and aerial attacks.

There were also calls for an end to the ongoing collaboration between the PSNI police in the north of Ireland and Israeli Police and Prisons Ministry.

Veteran civil rights campaigner Eamonn McCann spoke of a world “awakening” to the plight of Palestinians, and said the pressure must continue.

“What we have to do is to keep pushing them…. Freedom for the Palestinian people is closer I believe than it has been in the past,” he said.

Outside the BBC building in Belfast. The BBC, along with other state and privately owned media are complicit in the issues in Palestine, helping to shore up the Zionist regime with pro-Israel propaganda

The May 26 motion by Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Defence John Brady TD described the May 26 vote to adopt the Sinn Féin motion on the annexation of Palestinian lands by Israel as an historic moment, a victory for justice, and a recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

The Wicklow TD said:

“I wish to convey my thanks to the members of the Dáil who have voted unanimous support for the Sinn Féin motion, to the co-signatories to the motion, the Labour Party, the Social Democrats, and the various independent TDs.

“I also want to express my gratitude to Trócaire, Sadaka, Christian Aid, Al Haq, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, and the other members of the Oireachtas who have worked with us in developing this motion.

“For tonight, the Irish people have secured an historic victory for the people of Palestine.

“The decision by the members of the Dáil to vote to accept the Sinn Féin motion on annexation is a sure reflection of the strength of feeling that runs in this country at the treatment of the Palestinian people by the apartheid state of Israel.

“Ireland now stands as the first country in Europe to categorically state without equivocation that Israel has carried out the crime of annexation in the occupied Palestinian Territories.

“The respected international groups, Al Haq, Human Rights Watch, and B’Tselem have placed before the world the undeniable evidence that the state of Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid.

“I still recall my pride in our country when in the 1980s, the Dunnes Stores Workers took the decision to strike, and run the risk of losing their jobs, rather than handle produce from the apartheid state of South Africa.

“Today, in an article on last night’s debate on the Sinn Féin motion, I read an article on Al Jazeera that described this moment as ‘a landmark on the road to isolating an apartheid state as we did in the 1980s’ such is the importance of what has been achieved here tonight.

“But I need to stress that this is more than mere symbolism. Annexation is a crime under international law.

“Such is the importance attached to what has occurred today, that the United Nations Special Rapporteur for the situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territory Occupied since 1967, Michael Lynk, felt compelled to write to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, in advance of last night’s debate imploring the Irish government to act to recognise that de facto annexation has taken place.

“The Irish people have pushed the government over the line. The recognition that de facto annexation has taken place in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is now the formal position of Ireland.

“The Irish people, through the Dáil, have stated that Israel is guilty of the crime of annexation.

“The significance of the victory in getting the Irish government to acknowledge that annexation has taken place is enormous.

“It is now incumbent upon the Irish government to accept the imprimatur of the Irish people and take this motion and press for action in the EU, and for action on the UN Security Council on this issue.

“By shifting the discourse away from the outdated colonial discourse that has been allowed to prevail for decades, and which has been used to give licence to the concept of Israeli exceptionalism, a discourse which is satisfied to allow Israel to attempt to justify its acts of violence against innocent Palestinian civilians, and to receive a dispensation, an exemption if you like, from the international community for its deliberate targeting of civilians.

“We have stated clearly in this motion, and in our commentary on this motion, that we wish to frame a fresh discourse on the conflict, a discourse which focuses on the primacy of international law.

“And under the law there must be accountability.

“And now the international community must be pressured into holding Israel to account for the treatment of Palestinian civilians, and the destruction of their homes and infrastructure.

“The Irish government must act to introduce the Occupied Territories Bill. It must recognise the state of Palestine.

“It must ensure that Israel is held accountable for its action by the international community.

“Hopefully other countries can follow Ireland’s lead, and take this motion as a template to use in their own parliaments.”

With files from Irish Republican News, Sinn Féin Newsroom and Workers’ Weekly. Videos from Lasair Dhearg

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