'Truth, Justice, Peace. It doesn't work in any other order.'
'Displacements and demolitions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories'
Presentation to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence (JOCFAD): 11th May 2021 '
Quotes from JOCFAD Presentation
The Palestinian Ambassador, Dr Jilan Wahba Abdalmajid
- "The occupying power has escalated its appropriation of Palestinian homes, lands and properties, seeking to accelerate the forced transfer of our people, particularly in and around occupied East Jerusalem and its surroundings in a systematic and deliberate plan to annex and ethnically cleanse it. "
- "East Jerusalem is an integral part of the state of Palestine. The occupying power is blatantly using unlawful measures to carry out systematic policies of forced displacement, including by use of its judiciary and applying settler-backed laws to occupied territories. These illegal actions are being carried out in countless ways every single day, in grave breach of international humanitarian and criminal law and in violation of General Assembly and Security Council resolutions. "
- "In addition to these provocative measures, Palestinians in East Jerusalem are reeling from nights of organised incitement and terror by extremist groups and settlers that include violent marches through the city by hundreds of them repeating anti-Palestinian slogans and threats, including "death to Arabs", "we will burn down your villages", "we will slaughter you all", and "you know we will kill you one by one"."
- "While the settler groups enjoy the backing and service of Israeli courts and legislation for their unlawful plans, Palestinian families face relentless attacks that are designed to amass as much Palestinian land as possible, with as few Palestinian civilians as possible and to keep the occupation standing. "
- "Last week, a Human Rights Watch report stated that the Israeli Government has pursued an intent to maintain the domination of Jewish settlers over Palestinians throughout the territory it controls. In the occupied Palestine territory, including East Jerusalem, that intent has been coupled with systematic oppression of Palestinians and inhumane acts committed against them. When these three elements occur together, they amount to the crime of apartheid."
- "I would like to say that Israel acts with impunity. It will continue to violate human rights and international law, and abuse our people, to reach what Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem said is Jewish supremacy over Palestinian people. It is not, and should not, be regarded as a religious battle. It is a political and human rights cause."
- "I am a Palestinian and very proud of it. I am Palestinian and deserve to live. My children who hold Palestinian identity and passports have the right to aspire to freedom and to live in peace. We deserve to live in peace and have our children grow up in peace. I ask the committee to support and work for justice to prevail in Palestine. "
- "This is the latest action by Israel in a decades long project to remove Palestinians from East Jerusalem and from large parts of the West Bank."
- "Population transfer is a war crime, which carries individual and state criminal responsibility. "
- "Make no mistake, this is a permanent colonisation. It is a reengineering of the special and demographic structure of the Palestinian territories. It is an annexation, pure and simple. "
- "The facts identify Israel’s actions as annexation, and the facts are not in dispute. It’s purpose – to privilege one people, and one people only."
- "It is now well past time to stand for our principles as a nation, and to meet our responsibilities. The focus of the international community on a de jure annexation by Israel is a political and diplomatic decision, which allows Israel to pursue its agenda, while offering the perfect excuse for the international community to do nothing in defence of the Palestinian people."
- "The truth is, the events of recent days both in East Jerusalem, in Sheikh Jarrah, and in Gaza will continue, they will be repeated, unless the root cause – which is this decades long annexation and its ever deepening grip over Palestinian life is brought to an end. "
Dr. Susan Power:
- "[Yesterday’s incidents in Jerusalem and Gaza] really highlights the urgent need for the international community to intervene and address the root causes – and that is Israel’s colonisation of Palestinian lands, its de jure and de facto annexation of Palestinian territory, and its implementation of an apartheid regime, all ongoing since 1948, and continued since 1967 under the fiction of a belligerent occupation. "
- "De facto annexation occurs when actions on the ground indicate the implied intent of the Occupying Power to permanently incorporate the occupied territory. "
- "In the West Bank, we are seeing key indicators of de facto annexation taking place. This is not a temporary occupation. We have witnessed the construction of over 250 settlements and outposts in the Occupied Territories with connecting infrastructure back to Israel in addition to the illegal transfer-in of over 650,000 Jewish-Israeli settlers. This is permanently altering the demographic of the OPT."
- "We’ve also witnessed expressions of intent to annex, coming from Prime Minister Netanyahu, who said that “Israel has every right to claim sovereignty over these territories and area C”, and that “the establishment of Jewish settlements in Judaea and Samaria is not illegal.”"
- "In 2020, Israel also accelerated settlement expansion, and appropriated a further five thousand acres of Palestinian lands for settlements. We are now seeing an acceleration towards the conclusion of the colonisation of Palestinian territory. "
- "Ireland has a third state responsibility to not recognise and not render aid and assistance to a responsible state who is maintaining a situation of annexation."
- "As UN special Rapporteur Michael Lynk has said, “international law must not be an umbrella that folds at the first sight of rain.”"
- "Palestine is disappearing before our eyes, the erasure of Palestine has happened on our watch. We must address the root causes, we must introduce a motion on annexation, and ensure the collective right of self-determination of the Palestinian people as a whole. "
Professor Noura Erakat:
- "Palestinians continue to struggle against settler colonial removal and erasure. What we’re witnessing in Sheikh Jarrah is merely the most recent flash point of this struggle which is not about home evictions, it’s not about a real estate dispute, it’s not about expanding development in the city of Jerusalem, but this is the condition against an ongoing nakhba. "
- "Israel’s goal is to take as much Palestinian land, with as few Palestinians on them as possible, and to concentrate the greatest number of Palestinians onto the least amount of land possible. "
- "This [removal of Palestinian people] is evident throughout historic Palestine and is representative of our condition, and that context needs to be emphasised, so that we don’t dismiss this latest episode as skirmishes, as a conflict, as a need of just removing the violence, but instead we need to emphasise the root cause."
- "Israel’s establishment is predicated on the removal of Palestinians, and the assertion of uninterrupted Jewish-Zionist spatial and temporal presence throughout historic Palestine. "
- "Israel achieved it’s initial mass removal of Palestinians through the course of the 1948 war… when it forcibly exiled some 80% of the native Palestinian population. "
- "Since 1993, Israel has continued to use a mix of martial and administrative law to pursue it’s territorial ambitions and the removal of Palestinians through policies including tenuous residency rights, state lands, absentee lands expropriation… impunity for settler violence, and discriminatory planning and home demolitions. All of this is done separately, so that we can’t see it as a wholistic whole that merits outright condemnation and national action such as sanctions. "
- "Do you know that the Dead Sea, which is one of the wonders of the world and is literally within driving distance of Palestinian families including my own in Jericho, is off-limits to Palestinians? Any of you in this Committee can travel today to visit that wonder of the world… and my own family that lives there cannot access that same wonder of the world, specifically because we are marked for removal and Israel tells the world that this is necessary for military purposes. "
- "We are marked for removal, it is a matter of time before what is happening in Sheikh Jarrah will happen to us too."
- "Despite… what empirical evidence has demonstrated to us, we keep reverting to the fictions of temporality, military necessity, occupation, peace process, when the writing has been on the wall that Palestinians have been marked for settler-colonial erasure, that Israel intends to cement it’s apartheid regime, that it is a matter of time before Palestinians are in fact all made refugees."
- "I hope that you all break this pattern, and inspire the rest of the world to take a different course."