IPSC determined to help push Occupied Territories Bill forward
The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign condemns the failure of the negotiating parties to include an explicit reference to the Occupied Territories Bill in the Programme for Government.
The IPSC will, nevertheless, continue to hold the government accountable to the Programme for Government’s clearly stated commitment that Ireland will be adhering to its “obligations under international law” with regard to Israel’s illegal settlements in Palestine.
IPSC members are aggrieved that the Occupied Territories Bill was discarded from the Programme for Government at the last minute, seemingly to mollify the Fine Gael leadership who, for political reasons, continue attempts to block this legislation.
The Fianna Fáil and the Green Party leaderships have completely let down the Irish public by reneging on their parties’ unequivocal election commitments to put the Occupied Territories Bill in the Programme for Government. This is also deeply disillusioning for those who voted for these parties, for those party members who have worked so hard for this Bill, and, not least, for Palestinians who had placed hopes for positive change in these parties. We ask voters and party members to voice their frustration with these broken promises.
This was a perfect opportunity to take concrete action towards achieving justice by setting an historic precedent of meaningful solidarity for all occupied peoples. Regrettably the leaderships of Fianna Fáil and the Greens failed to rise to the occasion, and the opportunity has been missed – for now.
The Bill is still alive – our campaign will continue
However, this is emphatically not the end of the line for the Bill. On the contrary, the commitment in the Programme for Government to “work to ensure that all parties respect their obligations under international law and oppose the maintenance and expansion of illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory” clearly commits the next government to guaranteeing that Ireland will fulfil its mandatory duties of non-recognition of and non-assistance to serious breaches of international law, such as Israel’s illegal colonial settlements in Palestine.
The IPSC will campaign to ensure that this promise is delivered in the form of the Occupied Territories Bill which, by banning trade with illegal settlements, fully addresses these responsibilities. This bill is necessary for Ireland to fulfil its international legal obligations and we will continue to work to progress the Bill on its journey into law.
With the Bill remaining very much still alive in the Oireachtas, we believe it would be unforgivably shameful if political parties were to backtrack on their commitments to enact it, especially now as Apartheid Israel is preparing to illegally annex large swathes of Palestinian land.
The IPSC will continue to hold to account all political parties who made firm election promises to pass the Occupied Territories Bill, and we are determined to continue working with our allies in the Oireachtas, while mobilising supporters of Palestinian rights outside of it, to ensure that Ireland enacts this vital legislation.
Finally, we salute the tireless work of Senator Frances Black and her team, and the activism of the broad coalition of civil society organisations and the engagement of the Irish public that have collectively pushed the Bill to this point.
We know the people of Ireland are with us in this battle, just as we know you are with the people of Palestine in their struggle for freedom, justice and equality.