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Writing in today’s Irish Times, nineteen high profile Israelis, including a former Attorney General and several former Ambassadors, have urged members of Seanad Éireann to support a bill being debated this evening that would see trade prohibited between Ireland and the illegal settlements.
The letter describes the ongoing occupation of the West Bank “morally and strategically unsustainable” and says Israel’s policies towards Palestine are “detrimental to peace and poses a threat to the security of Israel itself”.
The writers note that Ireland regards the settlements as illegal but continues to economically support them through trade.
It is signed by, among others, Michael Ben-Yair, former Attorney General of Israel and former Acting Supreme Court Justice; Dr. Alon Liel, former Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and former Ambassador to South Africa and Turkey; and Ilan Baruch, former Israeli Ambassador to South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
The complete text is as follows:
We, concerned citizens of Israel, are writing to you regarding the Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018, which was brought to our attention and which is due to be debated in Seanad Éireann on January 30th.
We urge Ireland to support any legislation that will help enforce differentiation between Israel per se and the settlements in the occupied territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The Israeli occupation of the territories beyond the 1967 borders, ongoing for more than 50 years with no end in sight, is not only unjust but also stands in violation of numerous UN resolutions. UN Security Council Resolution 2334 of December 23rd, 2016, adopted 14:1 by the Security Council (the US abstained), calls for the international community to differentiate between its relations with Israel per se within its 1967 borders and its dealings with the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.
We are convinced that Israel’s ongoing occupation of the Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is morally and strategically unsustainable, is detrimental to peace, and poses a threat to the security of Israel itself.
It has been enabled by the leniency of the international community, whose rhetoric regarding the dire situation in Palestine has not been matched by appropriate action.
While Ireland, along with the rest of the EU, considers the occupation illegal, it continues to economically sustain it by trading with illegal Israeli settlements established in clear and direct violation of international law. The occupation has been correctly identified by successive Irish governments as a major obstacle to peace, which we believe remains attainable should we see the termination of the occupation and the realization of the two-state paradigm that would lead to the emergence of a sovereign State of Palestine alongside Israel.
It is clear to us that genuine reconciliation between Israel and Palestine, Israelis and Palestinians, is possible only if the paradigm of two separate and independent states prevails.
As people who care deeply for Israel’s future and long for our country to live in peace with its neighbours, we urge you to support the aforementioned Bill.
Former member of Knesset, Sheli Party;
Prof ELIE BARNAVI,
Former ambassador to France;
ILAN BARUCH, former ambassador to South Africa,Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe;
MICHAEL BEN-YAIR, Former attorney-general of Israel; former acting supreme court justice;
Former member of Knesset, Meretz Party;
AVRAHAM AVRUM BURG,
Former speaker of the Knesset, Labor Party, Former chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel;
Prof NAOMI CHAZAN,
former member of Knesset,Meretz Party, former president, New Israel Fund;
YAEL DAYAN, former
member of Knesset,Labor Party, former deputy mayor of Tel Aviv;
Prof ITZHAK GALNOOR,
former head of the Israeli Civil Service Commission, professor emeritus at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem;
former ambassador to the Czech Republic;
Prof DAVID HAREL,
vice-president, Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, computer scientist, Israel Prize recipient (2004) and EMET Prize laureate (2010);
DANI KARAVAN, Sculptor,
Israel Prize recipient (1977);
MIKI KRATSMAN, Artist, EMET Prize laureate (2011);
photojournalist, Israel Prize recipient (2005);
Dr ALON LIEL,
former director general of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, former ambassador to South Africa and Turkey;
Prof YEHUDA JUDD NE’EMAN,
Filmmaker, Israel Prize recipient (2009);
former member of Knesset, Labor Party;
Prof ZEEV STERNHELL,
Political scientist, Israel Prize recipient (2008);
Designer, Israel Prize recipient (2002)