Free Palestine! Ireland Must Lead On Bds

Speaking at the Palestinian Lives Matter Rally at Free Derry Wall on Saturday People Before Profit Cllr Maeve O’Neill said,

“Apartheid Israel has committed yet another massacre on the Palestinian people.

At least 232 Palestinians, including 65 children have been killed and tens of thousands of families have been displaced in 11 days of the Israeli bombardment.

Even though there is now a ceasefire, there is not peace for the Palestinian people. Israeli police are still brutalising protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets in the Al-Aqsa compound.

The Occupation continues. Ethnic cleansing continues. Apartheid continues.

Gaza continues to be strangled, denying Palestinian people the basic necessities, demolishing homes, eroding Palestinian lands, with racist laws, torture, restriction of movement, and the continued shooting and murder of Palestinian lives.

US President Joe Biden is not interested in peace in the Middles East. Israeli apartheid could not exist without US support. Biden provided the very weapons Israel used to bring mayhem and death to Gaza in recent weeks. Nothing has changed in policy between Trump and Biden in terms of unflinching US support for Israel’s war on Palestine. He is complicit in racist apartheid Israel. Biden has the blood of innocent Palestinians, including children, and is cannot be welcome in Derry.

The UK government has also sold £400 million in weapons to Israel since 2015. They are complicit too.

Palestinians have been denied basic human rights for over 7 decades. But they continue to resist. Their resistance is an inspiration to us all. They are calling on the world to support the BDS movement.

In 1987 Ireland became the first western country to boycott goods from apartheid South Africa thanks to the campaigning of the Dunnes Stores Strikers who refused to handle South African goods. 

It’s time for us to set an example once more. The BDS movement in Ireland have called for sanctions and to cut all trade relations with Israel, to pass the Occupied Territories Bill, to use our seat on the UN Security Council to push for global sanctions against Israel and for the expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador. 

Fianna Fáil and Micháel Martin have refused to expel the Israeli Ambassador. This is a betrayal to the BDS movement and the Palestinian struggle. Symbolic words are of no use to the people of Palestine.

BDS is growing from strength to strength. 

We have seen global solidarity this week, coinciding with the general strike across all of historic Palestine. It is so important to stand in solidarity with other people around the world facing oppression. When we stand in solidarity with people around the world, it makes us stronger here too. We saw the Italian dockers refuse to load an arms shipment to Israel in solidarity with Palestine this week. It is this global solidarity that will put the pressure on governments to take action and that gives support to the ongoing resistance for the people in Palestine.

We must continue our support to work towards the actualisation of the Palestinian right of return and to bring about this historic justice. There should be equal rights for Jews, Muslims, Christians and all people living between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean Sea.

Free Palestine.”