IPSC statement on the Palestinian “UN statehood initiative”
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 national liberation movement, and 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.
It is now clear that the PLO’s UN statehood initiative does not enjoy the unanimous support of Palestinian society. Furthermore, no call has emanated from our partners in the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) to support, or oppose, the statehood bid. The BNC is the main coalition of Palestinian civil society and trade union groups promoting the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Therefore, the IPSC is neither supporting or opposing this initiative.
Individual members of the IPSC are free to advocate support or opposition to the statehood bid as they see fit, so long as it is clearly done in a personal capacity, and not on behalf of the IPSC.
Regardless of the outcome at the UN this September, Israel’s decades old occupation of Palestine will not end anytime soon – a fact admitted to by the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland, when he stated that even in the event of statehood being granted “nothing will change on the ground for ordinary Palestinians”. Indeed, for Palestinians the brutality of the occupation will continue, irrespective of whether the UN decides that they live in the “Occupied Palestinian Territories” or the “State of Palestine”.
It is doubtful that a change in the UN designation of the areas occupied by Israel since 1967 will have any practical effect on Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people. In fact, as things currently stand, Palestinians are denied their already guaranteed UN-mandated rights – the right to self-determination, the right to freedom of movement, the right to development, the right of residency and the right of return for refugees. Israel is in breach of tens of UN resolutions, and ignores international laws such as the 2004 International Court of Justice ruling that deemed illegal both its land-grab Apartheid wall and colonial settlements on Palestinian lands.
Therefore, in line with the most recent call by the Palestinian BNC, the IPSC believes our task is to build support for the just demands of Palestinian people, as crystallised in the 2005 unified call for a campaign of BDS against Israel until it ends its occupation of Palestinian lands, ceases its apartheid practices, and complies fully with its obligations under international law. This call, for a struggle similar to the international campaign that hastened the fall of South African apartheid, has been endorsed by over 200 Palestinian political parties, trade unions, NGOs and civil society organisations.
As the most recent BNC statement makes clear, “the key lesson learned from South Africa is that, in order for world governments to end their complicity with Israel’s grave and persistent violations of human rights and international law, they must be compelled to do so through mass, well organized grassroots pressure by social movements and other components of civil society. In this context, BDS has proven to be the most potent and promising strategy of international solidarity with the Palestinian people in our struggle for self determination, freedom, justice and equality.”
For those who wish for a just and peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli question, it is imperative to continue the efforts to apply pressure on the apartheid state of Israel through the BDS movement and to support Palestinian resistance to Israeli Apartheid on the ground. The Irish Government, too, should support the call for BDS by ending the trade in technology, arms, goods and services with Israel; investigating and prosecuting companies in Ireland which profit from the occupation; ensuring that taxpayer-funded educational, cultural and sporting institutions do not collaborate with Israel; and diplomatically boycotting the Israeli state. At the European level it should demand the suspension of the Euro-Med agreement which grants Israel favourable trading status, and all EU projects that involve funding or collaboration with Israel.
Ultimately, the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign believes that, statehood or no, the struggle for the inalienable rights – human, political and national – of the Palestinian people will continue until they are secured.
Indeed, this struggle must be intensified regardless of the UN’s decision later this month, and the IPSC will be at the forefront of this movement on this island, and with our partners internationally.
IPSC National Committee,
15th September 2011
For those interested in a deeper look at this issue, the IPSC has organised a discussion on the Palestinian statehood bid with John Reynolds (former legal researcher with Palestinian human rights organisation Al Haq) that will take place this Thursday, 15 September, in the Teachers’ Club, Parnell Square, Dublin 1.
Other related IPSC material:
1. Towards A Just Peace: How Ireland and the EU can help to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (Daniel Finn, 18-05-2011)
2. The ‘State’ of Palestine: A survey of the main Human Rights Issues affecting Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (Richard Irvine, 18-05-2011)
3. Whatever happens at the UN, the Israeli occupation of Palestine will continue (Kevin Squires, 12-09-2011)