Likud Ministers Guilty Of War Crimes

Statement By Derry Branch Of IPSC To The Chairperson Of Sinn Fein In Response To Sinn Fein Meetings With Likud
Palestine solidarity activists across Ireland were shocked to learn Sinn Féin participated in meetings with representatives of the Israeli government party, Likud, during the summer in Belfast. 
The Likud Party, led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is primarily responsible for facilitating ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and upholding apartheid policies.

Likud ministers are guilty of war crimes committed during the Israeli attack on Gaza in 2014. An attack that resulted in 2,251 Palestinians killed. 551 of which were children. This attack left 11,231 Palestinians injured, 10 percent of whom suffer permanent disability while leaving more than 1,500 Palestinian children orphaned.

Palestine solidarity activists would expect a protest to be called in response to any political party engaged in dialogue and normalisation with the Israeli apartheid state. The Palestinian Campaign for Cultural and Academic Boycott of Israel which is part of the International BDS Movement states very clearly:

In all these contexts, “dialogue” and engagement are often presented as alternatives to boycott. Dialogue, if it occurs outside the resistance framework that we have outlined, becomes dialogue for the sake of dialogue, which is a form of normalization that hinders the struggle to end injustice. Dialogue, “healing,” and “reconciliation” processes that do not aim to end oppression, regardless of the intentions behind them, serve to privilege oppressive co-existence at the cost of co-resistance, for they presume the possibility of coexistence before the realization of justice. The example of South Africa elucidates this point perfectly, where reconciliation, dialogue and forgiveness came after the end of apartheid, not before, regardless of the legitimate questions raised regarding the still existing conditions of what some have called “economic apartheid.” (from "what is Normalization? Published by PCABI 31/10/11)

In 2005, Palestinian civil society organisations called for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions as a form of non-violent pressure on Israel. The BDS movement was launched by 170 Palestinian unions, political parties, refugee networks, women’s organisations, professional associations, popular resistance committees and other Palestinian civil society bodies in response to Israel's complete violation of the stated aims of the 'peace process' established in the 1990's. 
Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, the Palestinian led BDS movement call urges nonviolent pressure on Israel until it complies with international law by meeting three demands: 1) Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall. 2) Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality and 3) Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

Ali Abuminah, Executive Director and co-founder of well-respected online news publication The Electronic Intifada which is an educational resource focusing on Palestine, its people, politics, culture and place; recently wrote an article about Sinn Fein meetings with Likud. In it he quotes PSCABI (Palestinian Students Campaign for Academic Boycott of Israel) Gaza.
Stop normalization

PSCABI, the Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel, said in a statement sent to The Electronic Intifada from Gaza that it was “deeply disappointed” to hear about the meeting between the Likud delegation and Sinn Féin youth.

It is more shocking that this delegation was welcomed to Ireland in order to talk about ‘peace,’” PSCABI said. “Let us, occupied Palestinians, ask what do you mean by peace when the Israeli war machine is taking our children’s lives and subjecting us to all kinds of horror under deafening international silence?

For 10 years, we have been under a brutal, medieval siege interspersed by three barbaric wars launched by apartheid Israel,” PSCABI said. “As students, whose entire educational system has been devastated as a result of Israel’s long and ongoing blockade, we strongly condemn Sinn Féin receiving the Israeli delegation.

Haidar Eid, Associate Professor at Aqsa University Gaza voiced the concerns of Palestinians in an article in the Irish News on 8th September 2016 and also in an interview with The Electronic Intifiada:

This is very disheartening to us here in Gaza,” Haidar Eid, a university professor and member of the steering committee of PACBI, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

“We call on Irish comrades to condemn these meetings in the strongest possible terms,” Eid said, urging that people write to Sinn Féin leaders and “even disrupt any future visits by Israeli officials.”

“The reason why we are feeling Sinn Féin should not meet with Israeli parties that are part and parcel of Israel's multi-tired system of oppression is that we thought Sinn Féin was on our side, the same way it stood on the side of the oppressed South Africans and heeded their call for a blanket boycott of the Apartheid system.”

“War criminals and racist organizations should not be welcomed in the new Ireland,” Eid added.

Israel's strategy is to present itself as a 'normal' democratic society committed to seeing the establishment of a Palestinian neighbour state. But, Israel is not a normal democratic society. 

Israel strategically engages in 'dialogue' as a means to win legitimacy, gain acceptance and quiet international criticism of its policies and project. While engaging in 'dialogue', Israel has extended its control of occupied Palestine with illegal settlements; has relentlessly bombed and turned Gaza into an open-air prison; and continues to treat Palestinians and Arabs living within Israel as inferior citizens.

Therefore, by meeting with Likud representatives, we believe Sinn Féin representatives are undermining the BDS movement. 

The Director of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Mr Sahar Francis which is based in Jerusalem and Ramallah stated the position of the organisation about Sinn Fein meeting with Likud:
"I think it is very important to highlight that Sinn Fein should be committed to the BDS call in support of the Palestinian people's struggle for self-determination, while we have three Palestinian Political Prisoners on hunger strike fighting against Administrative Detention with out trial that members of Sinn Fein suffered from. We expect their full support to our legitimate rights. We need their pressure on the occupiers to abide by International Law and to fulfil their responsibilities."

For the people of Palestine, the Derry Branch of the IPSC call on Sinn Féin to abandon engagement with representatives of the Israeli apartheid state and to fully uphold the demands of the BDS movement.

We stand with and encourage Sinn Féin members who oppose meeting with Likud and Israeli officials to challenge the party's existing policy and commit to fully supporting BDS.

Derry IPSC influence continues to grow and we encourage members of the public to join our branch and engage in our campaign to turn the Derry and Strabane District Council area into an Israeli products free zone.

Join us and join our call for the BDS Principles to be fully adhered too, no compromises until the siege of Gaza ends and Palestinian nationhood has been achieved.

There is tremendous potential for the Palestine Solidarity and BDS movement to grow even further in Ireland today. What we do here matters. Strengthening the BDS movement in Ireland will strengthen the struggle across the globe and, most crucially, in Palestine.

We must remember the words of Nelson Mandela :

We can easily be enticed to read reconciliation and fairness as meaning parity between justice and injustice. Having achieved our own freedom, we can fall into the trap of washing our hands of difficulties that others face. Yet we would be less than human if we did so. It behooves all South Africans, themselves erstwhile beneficiaries of generous international support, to stand up and be counted among those contributing actively to the [Palestinian] cause of freedom and justice.

1 comment:

  1. If SF leaders are to advance their political careers (their entire raison d'etre) they have to calculate that in the year of the US presidential election, their meetings with Likud will go down well with the forces in the US who arm, finance and sustain the Israeli terror regime. Derry IPSC is trying to rationally address a serious ethical and strategic deficit in the SF position.