Take Action: Write to politicians and demand Irish government action
Dear supporters, following on from the Seanad recall debate on Gaza on Thursday 31st July, the Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan made it clear that Ireland would not support any meaningful concrete action aimed at ending either the Israeli onslaught on Gaza or Israeli impunity in general. We find this very disappointing, as Ireland has supported sanctions on other countries in the past. We are asking those of you who find this situation unacceptable – especially after the Irish abstention in the vote at the UN Human Rights Council – to write to the following people. Below we provide a sample letter, which you can send as is, or preferably adapt it into your own using the main points:
An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD: taoiseach [at] taoiseach.gov.ie
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan TD: charles.flanagan [at] oir.ie
Ministry for Foreign Affairs: https://www.dfa.ie/about-us/contact-us/
Your local government TDs: A list of all TDs contact details are here
You can also call the Dept. of Foreign Affairs at (01) 408 2000
I am writing to you to express my deep concern about the recent Israeli attack on Gaza. On Tuesday, 8 July, Israel launched Operation Protective Edge, an unprovoked and extremely violent assault on the tiny coastal strip which is home to over 1.8 million Palestinians. Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas on earth. Over half its population are children and more than two thirds are UN registered refugees. At the time of writing Israeli attacks have killed over 1,400 people, around 80% of them civilians. More than 340 of those have been children. 6,500 people have been maimed or wounded, over a quoter of them children.
The assault has also has seen family homes, hospitals and medical centres and facilities, UN schools and many other civilian areas targeted. This indiscriminate targeting of a captive civilian population amounts to collective punishment which is illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention 1949. Simply, this is a war on the people of Gaza.
Since 2007 Gaza has been subjected to a siege and embargo by Israel, in violation of international law. The strip, which is geographically around the size of Dublin, has been subjected to an Israeli blockade by land, sea and air resulting in a crippled economy and a humanitarian disaster. This siege, which has caused untold misery for the people of Gaza, constitutes an ongoing situation of belligerence and violence imposed by Israel.
This is the third large scale attack on the people of Gaza in six; the fact that Israel has faced no sanction from the international community for its frequent and flagrant human rights abuses against the Palestinian people has emboldened it to launch this current assault. This impunity must end. Therefore I call upon the Irish Government to take concrete meaningful action to help secure an immediate end to both the Israeli attacks on Gaza, and its ongoing illegal blockade of the region.
I am asking the Irish government to listen to what Palestinian civil society is calling for, and take the following actions:
– Call for the suspension of Israel from the Euro-Med Agreement. This agreement grants Israel trading privileges with the EU. Article 2 of the Agreement states that “Relations between the Parties, as well as all the provisions of the Agreement itself, shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles, which guides their internal and international policy and constitutes an essential element of this Agreement.” If “respect for human rights” form an “essential element” of the agreement, then Israel should not be a party to the agreement.
– Call for an international and EU arms embargo on Israel. There is a Palestinian-led international civil society initiative calling for the end of the arms trade with Israel. Countries should neither sell arms to, nor buy arms from Israel. Israel uses such weapons to terrorise, and ‘battle tests’ its own exportable weapons on, the captive Palestinian population.
– Ban the importation of Israeli goods. In 1986, Ireland became the first country in Western Europe to ban fruit and vegetable from Apartheid South Africa. The Irish government should again lead the way and take steps to ban Israeli goods from Apartheid Israel, revenues from which help fund the Israeli brutal assaults like ‘Operation Protective Edge’ and the many others that have gone before it.
– Expel the Israeli Ambassador and recall Irish diplomats from Israel. There is huge public support for such a move.
Ireland has supported international sanctions on many human rights abusing countries in the past. Why have we never supported sanctions against Israel?
It is time to stop singling out Israel for special treatment, it is time to end Israeli impunity, it is time for concrete action to be taken, for, if it is not, we will be back here again in two or three years’ time discussing yet another Israeli massacre of Palestinians.
Finally, I urge the Irish government to use its influence at EU level to push for an immediate end to Israeli attacks on the people of Gaza and broker a lasting ceasefire agreement of which the lifting of the illegal blockade of Gaza must be an integral part.