The Occupied Territories Bill

 

Sir, – We are writing to you as concerned Israeli citizens to urge you to ensure that the enactment of the Occupied Territories Bill is included in the next programme for government in Ireland.

Recent political agreements in Israel as part of our own coalition government negotiations have paved the way for de jure annexation of large segments of the West Bank, such as the Jordan Rift Valley and all the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

This is a matter of grave concern to all of us who believe in a resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict based on the two-state solution, leading to peace, security and prosperity for all. Needless to say, unilateral annexation will lead to escalating crises in Palestine, Jordan, and the entire region, and runs the risk of turning Israel into an apartheid state.

We were heartened by the recent statement of Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, who correctly underscored that “annexation of territory by force is prohibited under international law, including the UN Charter”. We welcome Mr Coveney’s affirmation of Ireland’s commitment to “a negotiated two-state solution that ends the occupation that began in 1967, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states, on the basis of international law, the internationally agreed parameters and relevant UN Security Council resolutions”.

Notable among them is UN Security Council Resolution 2334 of December 2016, which “underlines that it will not recognise any changes to the June 4th, 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations”.

We believe that Ireland is uniquely positioned to challenge the incoming Government of Israel’s ominous plans for annexation, uphold respect for international law, and protect the two-state solution by enacting the Occupied Territories Bill as part of the programme for government for the 33rd Dáil Éireann.

This will send a clear message to the government of Israel and the Israeli public at large that Ireland will work to ensure that the EU and the international community stand behind EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell’s warning that annexation “will not go unchallenged.”

For too long the world has sufficed with issuing condemnations in response to the government of Israel’s ongoing breach of international law and its human rights violations against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

We firmly believe that now is the time for action from the international community to prevent Israel from proceeding with annexation, which will doom generations to come to more oppression, injustice and violence. – Yours, etc,

COLETTE AVITAL,

Former Israeli

ambassador to Portugal,

consul general in New York,

and member of Knesset;

ILAN BARUCH,

Former Israeli ambassador

to South Africa, Namibia,

Botswana, and Zimbabwe;

SUSIE BECHER,

Managing editor,

Palestine-Israel Journal;

AVRAHAM BURG,

Former speaker

of Knesset

and head of the

Jewish Agency;

ZEHAVA GALON,

Former member of Knesset and chair of Meretz Party;

Prof DAVID HAREL,

Vice-president of the

Israel Academy of

Sciences and Humanities,

Israel Prize recipient (2004), EMET Prize

recipient (2010);

Prof MOTY HEIBLUM,

EMET Prize

recipient (2014), member

of the Israel Academy

of Sciences and Humanities;

Prof YEHOSHUA

KOLODNY,

Israel Prize recipient (2010);

MIKI KRATSMAN,

EMET Prize

Laureate (2011);

ALEX LEVAC,

Israel Prize recipient (2005);

Prof YEHUDA

JUDD NE’EMAN,

Israel Prize recipient (2009);

MOSSI RAZ,

Former member of Knesset;

TZALI RESHEF,

Former member of Knesset;

Prof DAVID SHULMAN,

Israel Prize recipient (2016)

and EMET Prize recipient (2010);

Prof ZEEV STERNHELL,

Israel Prize recipient (2008),

Jerusalem.