Sinn Féin National Chairperson Declan Kearney MLA has called on the Irish Government to use its position on the UN Security Council to call for an emergency session of the body to address the overnight military assault by Israel on Al Aqsa Mosque, and the theft of Palestinian homes at Sheikh Jarrah, in East Jerusalem.
The South Antrim MLA said:
“Increased aggression by Israeli military and settlers against Palestinians in East Jerusalem over recent days is fast building into a very deep humanitarian and political crisis.
“This comes at a time when a new report from the Human Rights Watch published on 27 April found Israel guilty of implementing apartheid and persecution against the Palestinian people. The imposition of apartheid occupation is exactly what is happening in Sheikh Jarrah, in East Jerusalem at this time.
“Plans by the Israeli state to forcibly evict and displace Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah is a flagrant violation of international law.
“Israeli settlers, supported by the military are presently intent on forcibly evicting over 60 people, including many children, from their homes despite living there for generations. In an outrageous defence of this criminal land grab, the Israeli government has sought to justify the situation in Sheikh Jarrah as a ‘real estate dispute’.
“During recent weeks, and throughout Ramadan, Israeli occupation forces have escalated the militarisation of East Jerusalem and surrounding areas, resulting in multiple arrests, and violent attacks against Palestinians of all ages.
“Overnight a full scale military assault by combat troops was carried out at Al Aqsa Mosque, resulting in hundreds of Palestinians at prayer having to flee for cover from the use of Israeli tear gas and other weaponry as they attacked this most holy place of worship for Muslims worldwide.
“It is clear that a strategy of ethnic cleansing is being systematically carried out against Palestinians in East Jerusalem. In a further denial of democratic rights the Israeli government had previously banned the extension of Palestinian elections in the city.
“The dangerous situation which is unfolding at Sheikh Jarrah and in East Jerusalem demands immediate international intervention, before it is too late.
“Sinn Féin is calling on the Irish government to use its position on the UN Security Council to call for an urgent session on this escalating crisis, and to publicly demand implementation of the UN resolutions on Jerusalem and occupied Palestine.”