Ireland shows the way over Israel’s de facto annexation of Palestine

A protest banner against Israel saying Free Palestine - in Belfast, Northern Ireland (James Williamson - AMA)

Ramona Wadi

Middle East Monitor  /  May 28, 2021

When it comes to Palestine, the Republic of Ireland continues to lead the way over Israel’s violations of international law. A recent motion by Sinn Fein calling out Israel’s de facto annexation of Palestinian territory won unanimous approval in the Oireachtas, the Irish parliament. This made Ireland the first European state to use politically accurate terminology for Israel’s latest land-grab. Amendments to the motion, including the expulsion of Israel’s ambassador to Ireland, and the call to impose sanctions on Israel, failed to gain enough support.

Israel, of course, was not impressed. “This position reflects a blatantly one-sided and simplistic policy,” bleated its foreign ministry. It described the Sinn Fein motion as “a victory for extremist Palestinian factions.”

It is Israel’s reliance on simplistic observations that has finally been threatened. For decades the EU has parroted the UN’s generalized statements on Palestine. Even when the “deal of the century” threatened to destabilize the comfort zone relished by EU diplomats pushing the two-state compromise, there was no real effort to call out Israel’s next steps in the colonization process.

Ireland has not taken a simplistic approach. It has decided to say it like it is as far as those steps are concerned. Dispossession has become synonymous with the humanitarian approach adopted by the international community, which has skillfully and hypocritically dissociated the displaced Palestinians from the stolen land. With the link between settlement expansion and forced displacement eliminated, Israel has been under no political pressure to change course.

Prior to the vote in Dublin, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney remarked: “The scale, pace and strategic nature of Israel’s actions on settlement expansion and the intent behind it have brought us to a point where we need to be honest about what is actually happening on the ground… It is de facto annexation.”

The Irish motion sets a precedent for the EU, which is still intent on preserving its ties with Israel despite occasional very mild rebukes for the occupation state. Dublin’s move is a far cry from the safe rhetoric spouted by EU officials in relation to the ethnic cleansing going on in Sheikh Jarrah, for example, which simplified the colonial land grab and de-facto annexation as steps “that exacerbate tensions and undermine the viability of the two-state solution.” How’s that for a slap on the wrist? With the occupation state’s forced dispossession of the occupied people downplayed as “clashes”, the EU promoted its rejection of factual accuracy to gloss over the politics of Israel’s de-facto annexation. This is exactly what Israel needs, which is why the settler-colonial state now needs to discredit Ireland’s political accuracy in an attempt to prevent its stance from gaining traction internationally.

What Ireland has done is what the Palestinians need in terms of internationalist solidarity. Forget the Palestinian Authority’s attempt to scramble into a sliver of the limelight by pointing out that Ireland’s honesty “is a truth which the Palestinians have been articulating for decades”. The Palestinians have indeed been persistently vocal about their territorial loss, unlike their leaders, who only speak about colonization and annexation when it suits them. If the PA is so supportive of Ireland’s stance, it needs to emulate its decisive approach, rather than continue to grovel for bland EU statements and inaction which aid and abet Israel’s theft of Palestinian land.

Ramona Wadi is an independent researcher, freelance journalist, book reviewer and blogger; her writing covers a range of themes in relation to Palestine, Chile  and Latin America