Take Action: Any Program for Government must include Occupied Territories Bill commitment
On April 15th Fianna Fail and Fine Gael published a ‘framework document’ for the formation of the next government. Unfortunately this document does not contain any commitment to passing the Occupied Territories Bill that would ban trade with Israel’s illegal settlements in Palestine.
However it is important to note that, as Fianna Gael Chairman Martin Hayden said, “this is not a program for government, but starting point to facilitate negotiations with smaller parties and independents in order to develop a government.” Furthermore, Fianna Fáil TDs have indicated to us that they would like to see the Occupied Territories Bill form part of the Program for Government and will form part of the negotiations.
Therefore, it is really important that supporters of Palestinian rights contact not only Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, but also the leaders and local TDs from the Green Party, the Social Democrats and Labour, as well as any local Independent TDs you may have. The Greens, SDs and Labour have all in the past voted in favour of the Occupied Territories Bill, and both the Greens and Labour gave specific commitments during the election that they would continue to support it, as did individual members of all the smaller parties including the co-leader of the Social Democrats. Sinn Féin and Solidarity-People Before Profit are also committed to the Bill, but it appears neither will be invited to form the government, so it is important we focus our energies where they are most effective.
THIS IS CRUNCH TIME, and as Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin said today, “the next two to three weeks will be key in terms of forming a government” – and they will be crucial for the public to lobby TDs to ensure that the commitment to the Occupied Territories Bill by the majority of TDs and parties in the Oireachtas is maintained and the Bill forms part of the Program for Government.
We ask you to email the party leaders, foreign affairs spokespeople, and your local FF/FG/GP/SD/LP/Ind TDs. The relevant email addresses are:
Fine Gael: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Fianna Fáil: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Green Party: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Social Democrats: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Labour: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Your local TDs’ (including Independents’) email addresses can be found here by searching by constituency.
Experience has shown that it’s more effective to write your own messages – no matter how short or long – rather than copy and pasting a generic text. So while we ask you to compose your own email, here are some tips.
- Always be respectful, no matter your personal opinion of the parties or individual politicians.
- Be as brief as you can, and note that you understand that they are receiving huge amounts of correspondence every day due to people’s fears about the Covid-19 pandemic and containment measures.
- Note that although the Covid19 Pandemic is obviously the most urgent matter facing the Irish government right now, a Program for Government is for the next five years, not just the next five months, and foreign affairs and trade – not least in regard to Israel’s occupation and ongoing colonisation of Palestine – should be an extremely important aspect of that Program.
- When writing to Fianna Fail members, highlight that a commitment to passing the Occupied Territories Bill was in their election manifesto, and that people have put faith in them to deliver on this commitment.
- When writing to Green, Social Democrat or Labour members, highlight their parties previous support for the Occupied Territories Bill, and the commitments by the Greens, Labour and Social Democrat co-leader Catherine Murphy during the election, and that people have put faith in them to deliver on this commitment.
- When writing to Fine Gael members, highlight that the vast majority of voters cast their ballots for parties that support the Occupied Territories Bill and that any government of change must listen to these people and act on that wide cross-party support.
- Note that we cannot simply abandon the Palestinian people, that action is needed, and Palestinians are calling for this legislation to be passed.
- Note that this legislation is required to bring Ireland into compliance with its of non-recognition of and non-assistance to serious breaches of international law. The current situation cannot be allowed to continue if the Ireland is serious about its commitments to human rights and the rule of law.”
- What Covid19 has made clear is that we live in hugely interconnected world and even small decisions and actions taken (or not taken), thousands of miles away can have huge effects on behaviour patterns and modes of operation. By passing the Occupied Territories Bill, Ireland has a chance to make a hugely positive contribution to the rule of international law – in Palestine and beyond.
At a time when Palestine, particularly the two million people in the illegally besieged Gaza Strip, stands on the brink of an even worse humanitarian catastrophe, and Israel’s regime of oppression continues to intensify, it’s more important than ever for the Irish government to enact this historic legislation.
We ask you to please take a few minutes to make this important contact with your politicians to let them know that even in the midst of global tragedy and uncertainty and fear here at home, you have not forgotten about the people of Palestine – and neither should they!
Also, our colleagues in the Comhlámh Trade Justice Group have created a petition calling on Fianna Fáil TDs to continue their support for the Occupied Territories Bill. You can sign that by clicking here.