Meath public meeting hears of human rights abuses in Palestine

By Eoin Ryan

Meath Branch of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign hosted a public meeting with Shawan Jabarin, Director General of the Palestinian human rights organisation Al-Haq last month. 

Israel designated seven Palestinian human rights organisations, including Al-Haq, as terrorist organisations last year and followed this up by issuing closure orders and raiding their offices.

Navan’s mayor Cllr Eddie Fennessy said the designation was “an attack clearly designed to censor the palestinian people and to conceal Israeli human rights abuses.”

“We must speak out against injustice, highlight Israeli human rights abuse and most importantly, we must educate and organise civic society to create an international movement that will end the Israeli dictatorship,” Fennessy said.

Israel has failed to produce any evidence in support of these claims and the seven groups have alleged that these actions are an act of political persecution and a violation of human rights.  

A joint letter from the foreign Ministers of 15 EU countries including Ireland stated that the EU and international community objective “must be to strengthen the Palestinian Authority.”

“The continued delay in releasing EU assistance risks having the opposite effect. It is essential that we release funding as soon as possible.”

The letter said the 18 member states who voted against or abstained the proposal have called for the EU commission to re-submit it “as a matter of urgency.”

Nine EU countries including Ireland, France, and Germany issued a join statement saying they will continue to work with these organisations because Israel have given no evidence to prove they are terrorist groups.

Those who travelled to Palestine spoke of the “Inhumane” treatment of Palestinians and how “in your face the aggression is.”

“It was way worse than I could have imagined going over there just the way they make everyday parts of life as difficult as possible,” Annette Murphy said who travelled to Palestine as part of an education trip in October 2019. “Just going for shopping you have to empty out all of your bags, it was like going through airport security.”

She remembered seeing soldiers strip searching two fifty year old female Palestinian delegates and another account of soldiers strip searching a 12 year old boy.

Racism is rampant in Israeli communities, exemplified by Israelis spitting on children and teachers going into a school located at the wall between Israel and Palestine. 

Shawan Jabarin spoke on the Israeli occupation and how “it has a nature of colonialism and apartheid,” emphasising the oppressive nature of it.

The lack of international sanctions or actions against Israel was condemned, with the United States continuing to send $3 billion annually to fund their military. 

“If they do not pay the price of their crimes, why will they not, for instance, repeat their crimes again and again,” he said.

“What they are fighting for, it’s normal; sovereignty, dignity, freedom, this is the fundamental rights for any people. I do not think there is anything overboard.” 

Despite the major issues that come along with being designated as a terrorist group, Jabarin has treated this simply as “an indicator that we are on the right track and that we are doing (the) right things.”

The European Citizens Initiative began in response to this where EU members can sign a petition to get the EU to review a decision they have made.

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