November 23, 2023
Government must urgently divest itself of investments in Israeli businesses operating in occupied Palestinian territories – John Brady TD

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow, John Brady, has expressed concern at the government’s lack of intent to divest itself of the €4.2 million investments in 11 companies on the United Nations database of businesses operating in illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories.

Minister Michael McGrath confirmed the figures today in the Dáil during questioning from Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance, Pearse Doherty.

In May, Deputy Brady introduced to the Dáil the Illegal Israeli Settlement Divestment Bill, designed to compel the Irish Strategic Investment Fund to divest itself of holdings in companies listed on a UN database of businesses operating within illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories.

The legislation followed Brady’s 2021 motion on Annexation, when the Dáil became the first parliament to recognise that Israel’s illegal occupation was a de-facto annexation, and therefore a war crime.

Teachta Brady said:

“I welcome Minister McGrath’s announcement that the Government is actively seeking the means to divest itself of its holdings and investments in companies operating within illegal settlements included on the UN database, but there is a need for urgency.

“Every minute that the Irish government has any involvement with Israeli illegal settlements, not only makes the Irish taxpayer complicit in war crimes, but aids and abets the Israeli war machine as it reduces Gaza to rubble.

“When the Bill was introduced, the government, using its numbers in the Dáil, forced an amendment that would delay the Bill for nine months, up until February.

“The failure of the international community, including Ireland, to hold Israel to account for its brutal disregard for human rights has emboldened Israel in its current onslaught against the civilian population of Gaza.

“Israel has been carrying out war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories for decades. It operates an apartheid policy designed to fragment, persecute and disillusion the Palestinian people.

“It is currently carrying out war crimes against the people of Gaza with thousands killed, the vast majority of whom are women and children.

“The government’s lack of urgency to divest itself of investments in illegal settlements leaves the state complicit with the international community who continue to look the other way as Gaza is torn asunder by Israeli bombs.

“The government had a moral and legal obligation to support the Bill when it was first introduced to the Dáil. Instead, they opposed in an insidious and low-handed manner by trying to kick it down the road in the hope that they could in some way bury it.

“Government support for the Bill has the potential to send a powerful and symbolic gesture to the EU and the wider international community. Instead they dither, attempting to find ways to avoid supporting the Bill.

“It is almost the case that in government eyes, that it has become the Bill, that they ‘cannot speak its name’.

“The government needs to use its Dáil numbers to immediately pass the legislation, which would represent one small step in attempting to hold Israel to account for its breaches of international law, and a powerful and symbolic gesture of support for the people of Gaza.”

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