Occupied Territories vote important step forward – Adams

Louth TD Gerry Adams has warmly welcomed the passing of the Occupied Territories Bill in the Seanad.
 
The Bill which has been introduced by Seanadóir Frances Black and was supported by Sinn Féin and others seeks to ban the importation of Israeli goods that are produced on Palestinian land illegally occupied by Israeli settlers. The Bill now moves to the committee stage.
 
Gerry Adams said:
“One of my abiding memories from my visits to the Middle East in recent years and especially to the west Bank, has been the enormous scale of the Israeli settlements. Almost all occupy the high ground like Crusader forts of an earlier conflict.
 
There are over 200 settlements with an estimated 600,000 Israeli citizens. These are all built illegally on Palestinian land. These settlements are serviced by roads which are for the exclusive use of Israeli citizens. Large swathes of the countryside are off limits to the Palestinian people who own the land. The wire fences of the Israeli Army stretch for kilometres across the landscape. And water rights are stolen by the Israeli authorities. In addition permanent Israeli road blocks, similar to those which used to blight the border corridor here, prevent Palestinian citizens from travelling freely between Palestinian towns and villages.
 
The result is that an estimated sixty per cent of the west Bank, which should be the core of a Palestinian state, is off limits to Palestinians.
 
At the same time farm produce and other material produced by the illegal settlements is exported to Europe, the USA and other places.
 
Trading in goods that are the product of stolen property is wrong. The Bill which has been produced by Seanadóir Frances Black seeks to right this dreadful wrong by blocking Israeli product produced in the settlements from being sold in this state.
 
On Tuesday Imelda Munster TD, Councillor Pearse McGeough and I met with Fayez and Muna al-Taneeb who farm 3.2 hectares of land in the northern west Bank. When Israel built its huge separation which runs for hundreds of kilometres it took the opportunity to steal more Palestinian land. In the case of Fayez and Muna they stole 60% of their farm.
 
It is right that the Irish state gives leadership on this issue and bans settlement goods.”

‘Support Palestinian Prisoners’ Protest on Wednesday

Louth Sinn Féin have organised a protest for Wednesday afternoon at 4pm at the Market Square in Dundalk to highlight the plight of Palestinian prisoners.

1,500 Palestinian political prisoners launched a mass hunger strike on 17th April and say they are determined to fast until the death or until they get basic demands as conditions in the Israeli prisons deteriorate to a new low.

There are currently 6,500 Palestinian prisoners being held by Israel including more than 500 ‘administrative detainees’.  These are detainees that have been arrested on ‘secret evidence’ and are not aware of what they are accused of and are not allowed to even defend themselves in court.

A spokesperson for Louth Sinn Féin said “we are concerned and want to highlight the contravention of International Humanitarian Law, which says that prisoners from

file photo from Dundalk 2014

occupied territories must be held in that occupied territory. That law is being broken here, these prisoners are being held in Israel and their families are regularly being denied entry into Israel, so the prisoners are further isolated from family and support.”

The spokesperson continued “as we approach the 36th anniversary of Bobby Sands, I would ask everyone to attend the protest on Wednesday at 4pm and show your support for the Palestinian prisoners and highlight the injustice of their situation. We went through it before in 1981, show your solidarity for these hunger strikers in 2017.”

Their demands include:

  • Installation of a public telephone to allow communication with their families
  • To resume bi-monthly family visits
  • To increase the duration of the visits
  • Allow prisoners to take photographs with their families
  • To end deliberate ‘medical negligence’  (more than 50 prisoners have died owing to medical negligence inside Israeli jails)

 

Wednesday, 26th April, Market Square, Dundalk at 4pm – Everyone Welcome