May 15, 2023
John Brady TD urges unanimous Dáil support for Divestment Bill on 75th Anniversary of Nakba

John Brady TD has called for all TDs to support Sinn Féin’s Illegal Israeli Settlements Divestment Bill 2023, which advances to second stage in the Dáil tomorrow.

Today, May 15th, marks the 75th Anniversary of the Nabka, meaning ‘catastrophe’ in Arabic, which occurred when more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from their homes during the 1948 Palestine war. 

Nakba Day commemorates these events and raises awareness of the ongoing plight facing Palestinian refugees and their families.

Teachta Brady said:

“I urge all TDs in Leinster House, from all parties, and independents, whether they are in government or in opposition, to support this important and timely legislation.

“The bill would mandate the Irish Strategic Investment Fund to divest itself of all current assets, and to prohibit future investments in companies listed on the UN Database of companies operating within the illegal Israeli settlements.

“This legislation is focused on companies operating on Palestinian land that Israel occupies illegally under international law – not territory within the state of Israel itself.

“If, for example, the Irish state had shares in companies and Russian Banks central to the facilitation of the occupation of Eastern Ukraine, it quite rightly would not be viewed as acceptable by Irish law-makers. Nor should it be tolerated in Palestine.

“The UN Human Rights Council Resolution [paragraph 12, 31/36] that established the UN Database referred to in the bill, places a clear obligation on ‘all states’ to ensure that they do not take any actions that recognise or assist the expansion of settlements, including trading with settlements, consistent with their obligations under international law.

“We must also remember that, in May 2021, the Dáil adopted a historic motion on de facto annexation and pledged to focus efforts on bringing an end to settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territories.

“This legislation would preserve Ireland’s international reputation by ending the Irish Strategic Investment Fund’s involvement with companies who, through operating in the occupied Palestinian territories, not only contribute to prolonging the Israeli occupation, but also stand accused of being complicit in war crimes.

“Already this year, Israel has planned more settlement expansion, fast-tracking a bill for 7,000 new settlement units that will completely break the territorial contiguity of the West Bank. 

“In February, Israel transferred the Civil Administration and Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) from the military commander to the Minister of Finance, extending Israel’s sovereignty de jure over the entirety of the West Bank – an outright territorial annexation. 

“Ireland’s National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights commits government to implement human rights standards in business activities, through the promotion of ‘responsible business practices both at home and overseas by all Irish business enterprises in line with Ireland’s commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights globally’.

“Ireland’s Strategic Investment Fund also holds shares in four Israeli banks essential to the operation and continuing illegal occupation of Palestinian territories. 

“They fund businesses, provide loans and mortgages, and are primary stakeholders in the current illegal settlements and the plans to extend the illegal occupation to the point where the Irish- and EU-supported Two-State solution to the conflict is left unworkable.

“I again call upon all members of the Dáil to support this piece of legislation and send an important message to the world around Ireland’s commitment to human rights.“

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