Sunday, January 17, 2010

Boycott Israeli Goods – North West demonstrates for Palestine

On Saturday (Jan 16) éirígí activists engaged in a series of actions throughout the north-west in solidarity with the people of Palestine, calling for an end to the siege of Gaza and calling for an all-out boycott of Israeli goods.

The activities were part of a national day of action organised by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) in support of its campaign to boycott Israeli goods.

On Saturday morning éirígí activists erected large banners at various locations in counties Sligo and Donegal in support of the boycott demand. The banners read - “Boycott Israeli Goods – End the occupation of Palestine” and “Imir baghcat ar earraí Iosraelocha – Cuir deireadh le forghabháil na Palaistíne”.

On Saturday afternoon a 90-minute public demonstration was held on Main Street in Letterkenny. Up to 40 people took part in the protest. Palestinian flags were on display and hundreds of leaflets were distributed to passers-by, pedestrians and drivers alike.

In Dublin, éirígí activists joined an Ireland Palestine Solidarity Committee demonstration outside Marks & Spencer’s on O’Connell Street, while a large Boycott Israel banner was unfurled on the Ha’penny Bridge.

In Arklow, County Wicklow, éirígí activists handed out hundreds of leaflets highlighting the plight of the Palestinian people while in both Belfast and Cork, éirígí activists took part in pro-Boycott protests, distributing leaflets and engaging with members of the public.

Following the Letterkenny protest, Sligo éirígí activist Gerry Casey called for an all-out boycott of all Israeli goods, the expulsion of Israeli diplomats and a complete severance of ties with the Israeli state.

Casey said: “Israel continues to defy International law and commit widespread human rights abuses. They continue to detain, torture and assassinate Palestinians at will. They continue to impose a barbaric and illegal siege on the civilian population of Gaza and to deny the Palestinian people their right to freedom and an independent and sovereign Palestinian state.”

He added: “While the European Union (EU) has acted shamefully in retaining favoured trading status and upgrading links with the Israeli regime, the reality is that all such links and trade should be ended.”

“The Israeli embassy should be shut down and the Israeli ambassador and all their representatives should be expelled from this island. An all-out boycott of Israeli business and produce should be initiated. While the EU and what passes for government on this island refuse to do so, the people of Ireland have the power to make such a boycott effective.”

Tír Chonaill éirígí spokesperson Micheál Cholm MacGiolla Easbuig also re-iterated the call for a boycott and accused the EU of complicity in Israeli war crimes.

MacGiolla Easbuig said: “We organised the erection of these large banners and this demonstration in Letterkenny to not just extend solidarity with the Palestinian people, specifically those suffering immense hardship within Gaza, but to also support the demand for a boycott of Israeli goods. It is important that we make people aware of the practical measures which we all can take against the Israeli state.”

He added: “Israel continues its illegal occupation of Palestinian lands and the building of its illegal annexation wall. The inhumane siege of Gaza continues as the civilian population, particularly children and the elderly, increasingly struggle to get food and essential medicines to survive. ”

“The Israeli military continue to carry out military attacks on both Gaza and the West Bank, killing Palestinians and destroying the remnants of an already obliterated infrastructure and economy. During last years murderous assault on Gaza, Israel committed countless war crimes, deliberately bombing civilian targets, slaughtering 1400 Palestinians, 400 of whom were young children.”

He continued: “Despite all of this, the EU have refused to take action against Israel to defend the Palestinian people or to end the illegal and inhumane blockade of Gaza. Rather than cutting all ties with Israel, imposing sanctions on them and seeking to bring to justice those responsible for the war crimes committed against the Palestinian people, Israel has once again been shamefully allowed to retain favoured trading status with the EU. The EU are effectively bankrolling the Israeli terror regime and are complicit in Israel's war crimes and human rights abuses.”

He concluded: “We must now initiate an all-out boycott of Israeli business and produce as we did with South African goods in the 1980's. As consumers we must check the country of origin of all goods we buy and refuse to buy any that originate in Israel. We must also also put pressure on retailers to refuse to stock any Israeli goods. These are simple practical measures that we can all take to oppose the continued occupation of Palestine and to support the Palestinian people's right to justice and freedom. It's long past time we made Ireland an Israeli-free zone.”

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