Ireland will chair a crucial meeting today on the long-running Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.
Israel continues to defy resolution 2334 and the 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice to immediately and completely cease all settlement activities. Meanwhile, in contempt of international demands, Palestinian civilians protesting the annexation of their lands are attacked with lethal force.
Palestinian homes, land and property continue to be seized and destroyed and people displaced. Israeli forces carried out attacks in Gaza in May that devastated entire families without any apparent military target nearby.
According to the latest Oireachtas Report on Demolitions and Displacements in the occupied Palestinian Territory, there have been 362 demolitions in West Bank including East Jerusalem as of July 2021.
The facts on the ground show that the relentless pace of de facto annexation is continuing day by day – with over 600,000 Israeli settlers live in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in violation of international law. The illegality of the Israeli settlements has been repeatedly recognised by the Irish Government, the EU and the United Nations.
In December 2016, the UN Security Council restated its long-standing demand in Resolution 2334 which reaffirms that Israel’s establishment of settlements in Palestinian territory since 1967, including East Jerusalem, had no legal validity, constituting a flagrant violation under international law.
Since early 2017, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process has reported to the Security Council on 18 consecutive occasions that Israel has taken no steps to comply with its obligations under Resolution 2334.
UN Special Coordinator present an oral report UNSCR 2334 today
It is vital that the United Nations resolution is implemented, and supports an International Criminal Court investigation into crimes perpetrated in OPT as a crucial step towards justice for the innocent victims.
Earlier this month, the European Commission registered a European Citizens Initiative (ECI) that calls to end trade with illegal settlements in occupied territories such as Palestine and Western Sahara. This decision is a significant legal step.
Don’t Buy into Occupation Coalition report
Trócaire is part of coalition of 25 NGOs that is part of the Don’t Buy into Occupation Coalition which investigates and highlights the financial relationships between business enterprises involved in the illegal Israeli settlement enterprise in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and European Financial Institutions.
The launched a major new report today Don’t buy into occupation: Exposing the financial flows into illegal Israeli settlements. The report found that between January 2018 and May 2021, 672 European financial institutions, including banks, asset managers, insurance companies, and pension funds, had financial relationships with 50 businesses that are involved with Israeli settlements.
During this period, $114bn was provided in the form of loans and underwritings: the top 3 European creditors were BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank and HSBC. As of May 2021, European investors also held $141bn in shares and bonds of these companies. The report includes 13 policy recommendations to European governments and institutions including
Trócaire is deeply concerned with the level of trade and investment that is ongoing between European countries and financial institutions with Israel’s illegal settlements, and echoes the calls for action by EU governments outlined in the Don’t Buy into Occupation Coalition report.
Irish Government should build on the cross-party support for further action.
In May 2021 Trócaire welcomed the unanimous passage of a Dáil motion which condemns the annexation by Israel of East Jerusalem and its settlement activity there and in the West Bank. This motion is significant as it makes Ireland to the first EU state to formally call out Israel’s illegal settlement activity for what it actually is – unlawful de facto annexation of Palestinian land.
Following this landmark motion, the Irish Government should build on the cross-party support for further action. Here are four additional steps the Irish government should take if Ireland want to contribute towards the prospects for a just and lasting peace in Palestine and Israel:
- Use its voice and seat on the United Nations Security Council to support the efforts of the International Criminal Court to investigate potential war crimes in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem
- Become the first EU country to ban trade with illegal Israeli settlements by enacting the Occupied Territories Bill.
- Use its voice within the European Union to call for Brussels to support measures to review and downgrade its economic, cultural, military and diplomatic relationships with Israel until the occupation fully ends.
- Recognise the State of Palestine
Now is the time for Ireland to adopt meaningful accountability measures to end the dispossession, humiliation and systematic subjugation of the Palestinian people.