Occupied Territories Bill

 

Sir, – Today is UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples ,which this year is themed “Leaving no one behind: Indigenous peoples and the call for a new social contract.”

Regrettably, “leaving no one behind” also reads like the unspoken mission statement of Israeli authorities as they flout international law and uproot indigenous Palestinian communities from Occupied East Jerusalem.

Israel’s discriminatory expulsion campaign in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah has already sparked another bloody conflagration, strong words at the UN Security Council, and a ground-breaking factual acknowledgement from Dáil Éireann. But nothing has changed; Israel is pushing ahead, with apparent impunity, with the next phase of a long-running discriminatory expulsion campaign.

Under a global spotlight, Israel’s supreme court, which has no jurisdiction in occupied territory under international law, has scrambled for compromise by offering the Palestinian families of Sheikh Jarrah the status of “protected residents”, remaining in their homes but paying rent to the Israeli settler organisation that has sought relentlessly to expel them.

This dubious offer would place the families at the mercy of their ideological antagonists, undoubtedly to be evicted on some pretext when international attention has subsided.

Meanwhile, in the nearby neighbourhood of Silwan, 1,500 Palestinians face expulsion from their homes to make way for a so-called “biblical” theme park, expounding an exclusively Israeli narrative. This plan would obliterate every trace of the indigenous Palestinian community; first by forcibly expelling families, which effectively denies them residency in East Jerusalem, and then by whitewashing their memory from global consciousness.

What needs to happen before the international community takes decisive action? We cannot place our faith in Ireland’s upcoming chairing of the UN Security Council, where Israel can rely on a US veto. Nor can we hope for decisive action at EU level, where certain states will ensure that consensus is never reached.

There is nothing for it but for Dáil Éireann to pass the Occupied Territories Bill, and for people to escalate support for the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. – Yours, etc,

FATIN AL-TAMIMI,

Chairperson,

Ireland-Palestine

Solidarity Campaign,

Dublin 1.