July 26th: Speaking outside the Israeli Embassy in Dublin today, Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly said the Irish Government’s decision to abstain on last Thursday’s UNHCR vote to establish an independent commission of enquiry into human rights abuses in Gaza sent what he termed ‘all the wrong signals’ to the Israeli government, and he called for a boycott and divestment campaign targeting goods produced from illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and divestment from financial holdings in companies complicit in the occupation.
Jimmy Kelly was speaking at the conclusion of a march and rally organised by the Irish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign.
“Over 800 Palestinians have been killed during this latest Israeli onslaught. The overwhelming majority of the causalities are civilians, and a frightening number are children. Neither hospitals nor schools are safe from the bombardment.
“This is the third military assault on a trapped population in less than six years.
“Against the background of the carnage in Gaza, the Irish and EU decision to abstain on a UNHCR vote to establish a commission of investigation into human rights abuses in Gaza sends all the wrong signals to the Israeli government. It is both shameful and inexplicable. Could the motion have been better? Of course. Motions can always be better. But by abstaining, this week the Irish Government showed that it is out of touch with the deep anger of the Irish people who have been watching innocent civilians slaughtered on their TV screens night after night while much of the international community stands by idly wringing their hands.
“Earlier this month, at our biennial Policy Conference, Unite reaffirmedour solidarity with the Palestinian people and our determination to do all in our power to support their struggle for peace, justice and equality.
“Unite, in commons with many progressive organisations around the world, has called not only for an end to the military aggression but also for a ‘boycott, divestment and sanctions’ campaign to put maximum pressure on the Israeli Government.
“Specifically, this should include:
- The boycott of any goods produced from illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank
- Divestment from financial holdings in any companies, funds or organisations complicit in the ongoing illegal occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people
- Sanctions against Israel based on its flouting of international law.
“We also need to take immediate action to stop the transfer of arms.
“The United States is by far the largest exporter of military, security and policing equipment (excluding vessels and aircraft) to Israel.
“Here are a few figures from Amnesty International:
“In 2013, according to US Customs data, the USA exported US$ 94 million in arms and ammunition and US$ 120 million in tanks and armoured fighting vehicles. These figures included US$ 114 million in “parts of armoured fighting vehicles”; and nearly US$ 26 million in the trade category bombs, grenades, torpedoes, mines and similar munitions of war; other ammunition and projectiles.
“There is a direct connection between this trade in arms and the deaths of Palestinian children. The United States needs to stop all transfers of military equipment to Israel – and we need to put pressure on them by writing to the charge d’affairs at the US Embassy here in Dublin to make our feelings known.
“Thank you to the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign for giving me the opportunity to say a few words here today. Solidarity to the people of Gaza”, Jimmy Kelly concluded.