Sadaka High level Forum on Palestine 2017
50 Years of Occupation: the Roadblocks to Justice for Palestinians
Sadaka’s High Level Forum ‘50 Years of Occupation - The Roadblocks to Justice for Palestinians’ was organised by Sadaka to address the critical role of the international community in bringing about an end to the Israeli Occupation of Palestine.
The Forum was held on 28th November 2017 as a year of significant anniversaries in Palestinian political history: the 100th Anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Partition Plan and the 50th anniversary of the Occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
The Forum sought to expand the debate beyond the limited confines of believing that a resolution to the Palestinian / Israeli situation lies with the people of Palestine and Israel through facilitated negotiations and instead focused the narrative on the moral and legal imperative of the international community to intervene as one state flagrantly breaches the rights of an entire nation of people.
The Forum focused on ways in which European states including Ireland should take measures legitimately available to them to compel Israel to cease and reverse its illegal activities rather than merely calling for peace negotiations between both sides to resume. It paid particular regard to the fact that Israel has used the so-called 'peace process' as political cover to enable it to continue to pursue its illegal activities bringing it ever closer to full annexation of Palestinian territory. It emphasised the imperative on the international community to apply clear and targeted actions to ensure Israel’s withdrawal from the Occupied Palestinian Territories demonstrating that in the absence of these measures from the international community – a Palestinian state will never come into existence.
The Forum was addressed by a number of eminent, expert international speakers. These included Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi (General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council since 2006 and a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Central Council), Mr. Daniel Levy (President, US Middle East Project and former advisor to the Israeli Prime Minister's Office), Dr. Rima Khalaf Hunaidi (former Deputy Prime Minister of Jordan and former Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia), Hugh Lovatt, Israel /Palestine Coordinator of the European Council on Foreign Relations and John Reynolds, lecturer at NUI Maynooth and an expert in international law in contexts of conflict, crisis and colonisation. A panel debate involving senior representatives of Irish political parties followed in the afternoon.
Dr Mustafa Barghouthi 'The EU Role - Counteracting US and Israeli Extremism'. Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi is a Palestinian physician, social, political, human rights and peace activist and politician who serves as General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI). He has been a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council since 2006 and is also a member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Central Council. In 2007, Barghouti was Minister of Information in the first National Unity Government in Palestinian history. He was a presidential candidate in the elections of 2005 as a representative of the Palestinian National Initiative, on an anti-corruption and pro-democracy platform, achieving second place behind President Mahmoud Abbas, with almost one third of total votes.
Dr. John Reynolds 'Ending the Illegalities'. Dr. John Reynolds was appointed Lecturer in International Law at the Department of Law, National University of Ireland, Maynooth in 2014. Prior to this he taught at the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights in Venice, and held the NUI’s EJ Phelan Fellowship in International Law. John holds Ph.D and LLM degrees in international law from NUI Galway. John's research focuses on the operation of international law in contexts of conflict, crisis and colonialism. His work appears in journals such as the European Journal of International Law, Third World Quarterly, the Journal of International Criminal Justice, the Journal of Conflict & Security Law, the Journal of Legal Pluralism & Unofficial Law, and the Palestine Yearbook of International Law.
Dr. Rima Khalaf Hunaidi 'Israeli Policies and Practices and the Question of Apartheid'. Dr. Rima Khalaf-Hunaidi has served in several leadership positions in Jordan and the United Nations, most recently as the Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). Khalaf resigned her post in 2017 when she refused to withdraw a seminal report on the suffering of Palestinians under Israeli occupation. Before joining the UN, Khalaf served in senior government posts in Jordan, including Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Industry and Trade, and Minister of Planning. She also served as Senator in the Upper House of the Jordanian Parliament.
Mr Hugh Lovatt, European Council on Foreign Relations 'Re-thinking the Oslo Middle East Peace Process. Hugh Lovatt is Policy Fellow and Israel/Palestine Project Coordinator for the European Council on Foreign Relations Middle East and North Africa Programme, which he joined in August 2012. During this time, he has worked extensively to advance the concept of 'EU Differentiation', which was enshrined in UN Security Council Resolution 2334 (December 2016). His most recent publication is 'Rethinking Oslo: How Europe can promote peace in Israel-Palestine' (July 2017). He is regularly interviewed or quoted in international media, including by AFP, Reuters, Newsweek, France24, and Al Jazeera.
Lord Mayor/Ardmhéara of Dublin, Mícheál MacDonncha: Welcome, Opening Afternoon Session. Mícheál MacDonnchawas elected as 348th Lord Mayor of Dublin in June 2017, having served on Dublin City Council since 2011.
Mr. Daniel Levy US Middle East Project, The International Community – Enabling the Occupation’. Daniel Levy is the President of the U.S. / Middle East Project. From 2012 to 2016, he was Director for the Middle East and North Africa at the European Council on Foreign Relations. Daniel Levy was a Senior Advisor in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office and to Justice Minister Yossi Beilin during the Government of Ehud Barak (1999-2001). He was a member of the official Israeli delegation to the Israel/ Palestine peace talks at Taba under Barak and at Oslo B under Yitzhak Rabin (1994-95), as well as being lead drafter of the model peace agreement ('Geneva Initiative'). Levy is a Trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in New York, a Council Member of the European Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the board of the European Middle East Project. He was a founder of 'J Street' and a founding Board member of Molad – the Center for the Renewal of Israeli Democracy.
Chair: Justin Kilcullen, Sadaka ‘International Action – the Possibilities’. Justin is a member of the Sadaka Board, and was previously Director of Trócaire, an organisation renowned internationally for its dedication to achieving a just and peaceful world where people are equal and rights are respected. He is past president of CIDSE , the international alliance of Catholic development organisations in Europe and North America, of Concord the confederation of European development NGOs, and the Global Council for civil society development effectiveness.
Senator Frances Black. Chair Oireachtas Friends of Palestine – Settlement Goods Legislation Frances Black is Independent Senator, Singer and Founder of the RISE Foundation, a charitable organisation working with people with a loved one in addiction. A strong advocate for social justice and equality, she was elected to the 25th Seanad in 2016, the first female Independent to do so in the history of the state. Senator Black is passionate about being a voice for the vulnerable, and continues to work with organisations in the voluntary and charity sectors.
Political Party Panel Discussion
Chair: Marie Crawley, Sadaka. A former Vice-Chair of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition, she contested elections in the Fermanagh/South Tyrone constituency following the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. For over 20 years, Marie has served on numerous NGO / statutory partnerships throughout Ireland, mainly in the areas of rural development, gender equality and the implementation of peace and reconciliation programmes. A former Chair of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Marie has a long standing involvement in Palestinian solidarity work and visits the West Bank annually. She is co-founder and current Chair of Sadaka.
Senator Mark Daly. Seanad Deputy Group Leader and Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, Irish Overseas and the Diaspora. Before being elected as a Senator, Mark worked on Election Campaigns to the European Parliament for Brian Crowley MEP in 1994, 1999, 2004, and 2009 as a member of his Strategy Committee.
Senator Colm Burke. Senator Burke, Fine Gael, was a member of Cork City Council from 1999 to 2007 and served as Lord Mayor of Cork in the 2003–04 term. He was elected to Seanad Éireann in April 2011 and is currently the Fine Gael Seanad spokesperson on Health. He was a member of the European Parliament between 2007 and 2009 where he served on various European Parliament committees including Committee on Foreign Affairs, Internal Market & Consumer Protection, and Subcommittee on Human Rights.
Pat Sheehan MLA. Pat Sheehan, Sinn Féin, succeeded Gerry Adams as MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly of Northern Ireland) for Belfast West in December 2010 and retained the seat at the 2011 Assembly election.