On Wednesday (26 May 2021), the Republic of Ireland’s Dáil (parliament) passed a motion tabled by Sinn Féin, declaring that the building of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories amounts to “de facto annexation”. Another motion, proposed by People Before Profit, was rejected by 87 to 46 votes, which called for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and the imposition of comprehensive sanctions against Israel.
The motion makes the Republic of Ireland the first EU member state to label Israeli actions using the term “de facto annexation.” These actions, however, were similarly addressed in United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which states that Israel’s settlement activity constitutes a “flagrant violation” of international law and has “no legal validity”. The resolution also demands that Israel stop such activity and fulfil its obligations as an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Despite this not-so-controversial ruling, which bluntly reiterates UNSC Resolution 2334’s position on Israeli colonialism, a spokesperson from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lior Haiat, said on Twitter Ireland’s “outrageous and baseless” position regarding some Israeli settlements reflects a “blatantly one-sided and simplistic policy”, constitutes a “victory for extremist Palestinian factions” adding that “the motion distances Ireland from its ambition to contribute and play a constructive role in the Israeli-Palestinian context.”
On Thursday, an Irish flag was raised above the city hall of the Palestinian city of Ramallah in response to the Irish solidarity voting to declare Israel’s actions as “unlawful de facto annexation”. A clip shared on Twitter showed the ROI flag being raised in the West Bank City, approximately 10km from Jerusalem, with the Irish national anthem played in the background. Free Derry Corner, a landmark within the city of Derry in Northern Ireland, has often been a site for Irish-Palestinian solidarity, with a variety of temporary changes to reflect this relationship such as the edit to the original ‘you are now entering Free Derry’ inscription to read ‘you are now entering Free Gaza’. In 2009, the painting of the Palestinian Flag as the background of the landmark in 2005 and the addition of the phrase ‘End Genocide in Gaza’ in 2014.
Both the Irish and the Palestinian people’s resistance to colonial and imperialist entities should serve as examples of those who will not submit to oppressive forces seeking to treat the native populous as second-class citizens, despite being labelled “terrorists” for doing so. The relentless slander within western media portrays all such struggles as terrorism and utilises religion to disconnect the issue from its true causes: colonialism, imperialism, apartheid, and genocide. We should take pride in opposing the injustice and true terror of imperial entities across the globe. To cite the old adage, “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.”
Jamie McDonald, is a member of the YCL’s London District