Sir, – Stephen Oliver Murray (“Susan Abulhawa’s controversial tweet”, Letters, March 17th) poses the rhetorical question of whether “our leadership” should be denounced with vitriol for its response – or lack thereof – to the Israeli state’s human rights abuses against the Palestinian people. For countless Irish people, the answer is a resounding “Yes”.
The very least that our political leadership should have done, long ago, was to ban the importation of the ill-gotten gains of illegal settlement programmes worldwide. The Occupied Territories Bill would have accomplished this, but it was thwarted by Fine Gael on a succession of pretexts, and their Coalition partners folded, thus excluding this widely supported measure from the current programme for government.
Another overdue measure is for our Government to formally recognise that the Israeli state is committing the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people.
Dáil Éireann is already in unanimous agreement that the Israeli state’s occupation of the West Bank amounts to de facto annexation, and key members of Cabinet have conceded that their reluctance to use the term “apartheid” is a matter of tactical rather than factual reservation. When pressed in 2021, then-taoiseach Micheál Martin refused to use the term as he was “not sure it will add anything right now”.
Then-minister for foreign affairs Simon Coveney held that the government did not use the term because “we do not think it is helpful in this context”. With Israeli politics plunging headlong to the extreme right, and Palestinian communities under existential threat from Israel’s occupation forces and violent illegal settlers, one has to wonder what Mr Coveney meant; “helpful” for whom?
The facts have been thoroughly and repeatedly documented, and endless foot-dragging by our supposed political leaders is not a good look! – Yours, etc,
BRIAN Ó ÉIGEARTAIGH,
Source: The Irish Times