The Occupied Territories Bill

 

Sir, – The giveaway in the letter (October 17th) advocating the enactment of the discriminatory anti-Israeli Occupied Territories Bill of Gerry Liston of Sadaka – the Ireland Palestine Alliance is in its crass dismissal of the need for dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

The importance of dialogue to end conflict and effect reconciliation is universally recognised as a crucial cornerstone of the Irish peace process. Recent Brexit-related turbulent events have reinforced the need for continuing dialogue and engagement on this island.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict will not be resolved without constructive dialogue and positive engagement between Israeli and Palestinian leaders and until such time as the main Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, which separately govern the West Bank and Gaza, peacefully resolve their differences and commit to a permanent end to conflict.

Rather than encouraging further conflict and division, the most constructive contribution the Ireland Palestine Alliance could make is to encourage an end to the latter conflict, the building of credible Palestinian institutions that respect the rule of law and the holding of democratic Palestinian elections. It is over 13 years since such elections were held.

Sadly, there is little chance of the Ireland Palestine Alliance so engaging. The Occupied Territories Bill is part of the global anti-Israeli BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) campaign. Contrary to the perception of many, the campaign’s ultimate objective is not the creation of an independent, unified and stable Palestinian state living in peace beside the State of Israel. Its ultimate objective is the destruction of the Israeli state.

The Occupied Territories Bill presently before the Dáil is merely a political Trojan horse used as a vehicle to demonise and delegitimise the Israeli state and designed to seduce Irish foreign policy down a nihilistic political cul de sac. The BDS campaign groups, including the Ireland Palestine Alliance, specifically oppose dialogue and engagement at any level between Israelis and Palestinians, seek to drive Israelis and Palestinians further apart in opposing normalisation of relations and form part of a comprehensive political warfare strategy to annul Israel’s international and UN declared legitimacy as a nation state.

Finally, it is disingenuous of Mr Liston to assert that the Bill does not prescribe a boycott of Israel when its principal sponsors and all who spoke in favour of the Bill in the Houses of the Oireachtas singled out Israel alone as the Bill’s target. It is the very reason why the Ireland Palestine Solidarity campaign has so vigorously campaigned and lobbied for its enactment. – Yours, etc,

ALAN SHATTER,

Dublin 16.