January 9, 2023
Ireland must push for greater action on Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian Territories – John Brady TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, John Brady TD, has welcomed the decision by the UN Security Council to convene an emergency discussion in the aftermath of the provocative visit by Israeli Government Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem.

The actions of the Israeli Minister are seen as particularly inflammatory given Ben-Gvir’s previous comments around changing the status quo.

Palestine’s Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour described the visit as an “unlawful attempt to alter the character, status and identity of the City” of Jerusalem.

The visit follows a decision by the UN General Assembly to refer Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for its illegal occupation of Palestinian territory. Teachta Brady also called for the Irish government to push for greater action from the EU.
 
The Wicklow TD said:
 
“What we are witnessing here is another example of the dangerous and irresponsible behaviour of an Israeli government official, designed to provoke a response by heightening political tensions, potentially leading to devastating violence.
 
“The US Ambassador to the UN, Robert A. Wood, has also expressed concern at unilateral acts that exacerbate tensions or undermine the viability of a two-state solution.
 
“The visit by Ben-Gvir is nothing more than an unlawful attempt to alter the character, status and identity of the city.  He went to the mosque to pursue an extremist agenda and end the historic status quo.
 
“The UNSC meeting came on the back of a vote at the UN General Assembly asking the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the UN’s highest court for a legal opinion on Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory.

“Ireland was one of 87 countries who backed the resolution. 26 states voted against, and 53 abstained.
 
“If the ICJ conclude, after a process that may take up to two years, that Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid in the occupied Palestinian territories, the ICJ Prosecutor will investigate Israel.
 
“Leading human rights organisations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and B’Tselem have already determined that Israel is imposing apartheid on Palestinians.
 
“In March of last year, the then UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Palestinian territory, Professor Michael Lynk visited Ireland. He addressed the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee and met with representatives from all of the Party’s in Leinster House.

“Professor Lynk laid out clearly that Israeli policy towards the Palestinian people amounted to apartheid.
 
“Ireland has a long and noble history of opposition and activism against apartheid. I believe that the Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheal Martin has a responsibility to lead out on the international stage against apartheid in the occupied Palestinian territories.
 
“Minister Micheál Martin must take the case for an international campaign against apartheid into the heart of the EU.

“Failure to act with vigour in the face of such egregious abuses of human rights undermines our credibility as independent, sovereign nation, committed to an international rules-based system.

“Rules mean nothing unless they applied evenly and universally, to hold all states accountable.”

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