The parallels between our struggles are stark, both in their historic origins and nature and their current and deeply flawed approach to their political and constitutional resolution. We too have faced attempted genocide at the hands of our occupier. We to have faced the clearing of our lands to make way for settlers. And in those dark days of our history other colonised peoples from around the world reached out to help us.
Ireland, like Palestine, is occupied. The partition of Ireland was a two-state solution imposed by the British under the threat of immediate and terrible war. It hasn’t worked. It can’t work, because at its core is a fundamental denial of sovereign and democratic rights that each generation it is imposed upon will struggle relentlessly to end .
The Israeli state was founded to serve the strategic self-interests of the United Kingdom and the United States of America. It had nothing to do with safe homelands for victimised people. Those self-interests found a useful vehicle in the form of Zionism and they have funded, armed and given political cover to its deliberate aim of destroying the Palestinian nation and its people.
What the world witnessed on October the seventh was a prison revolt by the imprisoned people of Gaza. What the right-wing wailings of the Western powers would have us believe is that October the 7th was an unprovoked attack on a benign Israel.
As the genocidal slaughter continues on the civilian population of Gaza these same so-called champions of democracy cannot even bring themselves to call for a ceasefire as the death toll rages past 14800 thousand including 6150 children and that’s not taking into account the many thousand buried alive under the rubble of their own homes that have been destroyed by the Zionists using USA and British bombs.
The grotesque and almost farcical attempts by the Israeli Defence Forces to plant munitions at hospital sites to justify their bombing of the sick and injured are reminiscent of the British Army’s efforts to portray the innocent victims of Bloody Sunday as gunmen and bombers. or the murder of unarmed volenteer Pasty Duffy who we gather here today to commemorate, by heavily armed British crown forces. Pastys friends and family, like so many other, have been denied the truth of what happened to their love one on that day in 1978 and we support them in their fight to get truth and justice for Pasty.
Irish republicans must stand firm with the people of Palestine. We must reject the quisling stance of Irish politicians who speak and act out of both sides of their mouths.
Irish republicans must engage with and become part of Palestinian solidarity groups both here and abroad to drive home the urgent lesson of solidarity. Conflicts are not resolved by peace accords such as Good Friday or Oslo. They are resolved when national sovereignty is recognised and respected.
We say to our Palestinian friends do not listen to so-called Irish republicans who urge you to learn from their so-called peace process. As a result of their slavish engagement with the British Government the partition of Ireland has been sanitised in the eyes of an up-coming generation.
This will be your fate also if you choose to pursue the Two State solution. The Good Friday Agreement serves British interests just as the Oslo Accords serve the interests of Israel and their imperial backers.
Irish republicans chose the correct route by declaring our right to national sovereignty in international law before the United Nations. We urge our Palestinian brothers and sisters to do likewise and make this stance the first and final position in any negotiations on the future of your country.
Like Volunteer Pasty Duffy, whom we honour here today, we urge republicans to action. The cause of Ireland is the cause of Palestine. And the cause of both is the restoration of our mutual national sovereignty.
⏩Martin Rafferty, a member of the 32 CSM, is an activist with the BDS movement, campaigning for the sovereignty of the Palestinian people.