Aims, Objectives and Policy Positions
The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign exists to mobilize people in Ireland to support the political, civil and human rights of all Palestinians, and to work for their national and democratic rights including the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants.
The objectives of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign are as follows:
⬤ To support and promote the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people;
⬤ To build solidarity and mutual understanding between the people on the island of Ireland and the Palestinian people;
⬤ To raise awareness in Ireland of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land, the plight of Palestinian refugees and the struggle of Palestinian citizens of Israel for full equality and rights;
⬤ To promote engagement by the Irish Government, the political institutions in the North and the EU for a just and equitable settlement based on the full and unequivocal implementation of international law;
⬤ To develop and coordinate support for Palestine rights among political parties north and south, the media, faith groups, local authorities, trade unions, non-governmental organisations and the general public;
⬤ To foster links between Palestine and Irish institutions and organisations in the areas of health, education, culture, local government, workers’ rights, the global economy and the promotion of human and civil rights;
⬤ To promote Palestinian culture, including literature, music and other arts in Ireland; to carry out such campaigning, educational and other activities as will serve the preceding aims.
Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS)
An integral part of the work of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign is to support and promote the Palestinian led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign for freedom, justice and equality for the Palestinian people.
The BDS campaign is based on the 2005 call issued by Palestinian civil society groups and can be read in full at www.bdsmovement.net/call and the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign with Palestinian partners to advance the movement, and looks to the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) for guidance on matters related to this campaign.
The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign opposes and condemns all forms of fascism, racism and bigotry, including antisemitism and Islamophobia. Furthermore, the IPSC opposes the ideology of actually existing Zionism as being a form of racism built on the violent and continued denial of Palestinian rights.
Relationship with political parties and groups
The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign is a non-party political and non-sectarian organisation, secular in outlook, and broadly based. As such it does not endorse any particular political party, faction or organisation whether in Ireland, Palestine or elsewhere. We seek to co-operate with and influence all political parties, groups and state institutions to ensure Palestinians’ are granted their inalienable rights.
Individual members are free join or be members any political formations they choose.
The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign fully supports the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination as guaranteed by UN General Assembly Resolution 3236. This right is the foremost and most fundamental human right of the Palestinian people and it is the basis of the Palestinian national liberation movement. It is an inalienable right of all Palestinians – those in the Occupied Territories, Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinian refugees and others in the Diaspora.
The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, as an organisation in solidarity with the Palestinian people, does not see our role as intervening in internal Palestinian discussions on statehood, or advocating solutions based on ‘one’ or ‘two’ states. It is our view that these are issues for Palestinians to resolve, free from outside interference. You can read more about our position on this here.
Individual members are free to hold views on optimal solutions based on one or two states, but must never posit them as views of the IPSC itself.
Palestinian Refugees and the Right of Return
The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign fully supports the right of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to return to their homeland.
Between 1947 and 1949 Jewish-Israeli military forces ethnically cleansed at least 750,000 Palestinians from what became the state of Israel, representing some 85% of the indigenous Palestinian population. Again in 1967, Israel forced around 300,000 people (around half of them already refugees from 1948) from their homeland. Today, refugees and their descendants number, at a conservative estimate, around five million people. Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states that “forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.” Under Article 147 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV, “unlawful deportation or transfer … of a protected person” constitutes a grave breach of the Convention.
For six decades Israel has refused Palestinian refugees their Right of Return; UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 194 states that Palestinian “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date.” This resolution has been reaffirmed many times over by UNGA. Opponents of Palestinian rights claim 194 is irrelevant as UNGA resolutions are non-binding, however Israel’s accession to the UN was predicated upon its acceptance. Furthermore, the resolution is merely an acknowledgement of the specific applicability of the right of return to Palestinian refugees which, according to the Cambridge Journal of International & Comparative Law can be found in eight branches of international law: inter-State nationality law, law of State succession, human rights law, humanitarian law, law of State responsibility, refugee law, UN law, and natural/customary law.
However this right of return does not absolve host states from their responsibility to treat Palestinian refugees residing within their borders in accordance with established humanitarian norms. Thus, Palestinian refugees should be afforded full human and civic rights in whatever country they are located.
The Apartheid Wall
The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign urges all states to abide by their obligations to enforce the ruling of the International Court of Justice which stated that the wall is illegal and must be dismantled.
In 2002 Israel began building 710km a barrier consisting of 8m high concrete walls, military watchtowers and barbed-wire fences on Palestinian land. Israel claims its purpose it to prevent Palestinians from crossing into Israel, but its route winds deep within the West Bank –only 15% of its route follows the Green Line border– leading it to be dubbed the ‘annexation’ or ‘Apartheid’ wall. In 2004, the International Court of Justice (The World Court) issued an Advisory Opinion regarding the legality of the wall, stating that the wall “and its associated régime, are contrary to international law”, further advising that it be dismantled and those people adversely affected should have their property and land restored to them and, in the event that this is not possible, compensated.
Settlements and Annexations
The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign views the building of all Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as being war crimes.
The first Israeli settlements were built in late 1967, immediately following the military occupation of the Palestinian territories. Today in teh region of 800,000 Jewish-Israelis live in such settlements. As Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states that it is illegal for an occupying power to “deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”, all such settlements are thus war crimes. UN Security Council Resolution 446 declares settlements have “no legal validity”, a view reaffirmed by UNSC Resolution 2334 in December 2016.
In 1980 Israel formally annexed East Jerusalem as Israel’s “complete and united” capital. UNSC Resolution 478 declares the annexation “a violation of international law” which is “null and void and must be rescinded.” UNSC Resolution 497 similarly states that Israel’s annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights in also illegal.
The Siege of Gaza
The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign views the siege of Gaza as a form of cruel and illegal collective punishment, and affirms that Gaza remains Israeli-occupied territory.
Since 2007, the 2 million people in the Gaza Strip have existed under a regime of land, sea and air closure, known as the Siege, or blockade, of Gaza. This siege has kept Gaza on the brink of a humanitarian disaster for over a decade years, a policy described by an Israeli official as being to “put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.”
There is broad consensus amongst human rights organisations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Committee of the Red Cross as well as UN offices such as the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) and United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) that this siege is illegal. UNOCHA called it “collective punishment, a violation of international humanitarian law,” while then-UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has stated that it “is illegal and should be lifted.”
Despite Israeli propaganda talking points, and notwithstanding the alleged ‘disengagement of 2005’, Gaza remains recognised as an occupied territory by the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross and all major human rights organisation. This is because Israel continues to exercise “unconsented-to effective control” of the region through its dominance of airspace, land and sea borders, control over movement of people and goods, and frequent military incursions, bombings and shooting attacks.
Palestinian Political Prisoners
The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign calls for freedom for all Palestinian political prisoners, including child prisoners, in Israel’s apartheid prisons. The Israeli Military Court under which Palestinians are convicted is invalid as it does not meet international standards required for a fair trial, and torture and threats are used to obtain confessions or convictions via plea bargains.
Israel uses two methods to imprison Palestinians. The first is a method called Administrative Detention, which is a form of indefinite internment without charge, trial or being able to see or challenge any alleged evidence against prisoner. Amnesty International says Israel uses Administrative Detention “to lock up Palestinian activists without charge or trial”, and notes that these detention orders can be repeatedly renewed, “so in effect detainees can be held indefinitely. The process violates their right to a fair trial which is guaranteed by international law”.
However, Administrative Detention is only one aspect of the larger prison regime used by Israel to suppress Palestinian resistance to occupation and Apartheid. The vast majority of political prisoners are ‘convicted’ by non-jury Military Courts, which have a 99.7% conviction rate, in ‘trials’ that last on average 10 minutes. Furthermore, in these courts which are biased from the outset, “proceedings do not meet international standards for fair trial” according to Amnesty, and Palestinians “continue to face a wide range of abuses of their right to a fair trial. They are routinely interrogated without a lawyer and, although they are civilians, are tried before military not ordinary courts”.
Furthermore, Amnesty states that “consistent allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, including of children, were frequently reported. Among the most commonly cited methods were beatings, threats to the detainee or their family, sleep deprivation, and being subjected to painful stress positions for long periods. Confessions allegedly obtained under duress were accepted as evidence”.
Israel uses both methods of imprisonment on adults and children alike. Every year the Israeli military arrests and prosecutes around 700 Palestinian children and has come under severe criticism from human rights organisations for violations of the rights of the child.
Defence for Children International Palestine states that “from the moment of arrest, Palestinian children encounter ill-treatment and torture at the hands of Israeli forces. Three out of four experience physical violence during arrest or interrogation. Israel is the only country in the world to automatically prosecute children in military courts that lack basic safeguards for a fair trial.” Ill-treatment in the Israeli military detention system remains “widespread, systematic, and institutionalized throughout the process,” according to the UNICEF, while Human Rights Watch says that “Palestinian children are treated in ways that would terrify and traumatize an adult.”