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Dublin: Hundreds Attend Rally Against Israeli Apartheid in Palestine
rights, freedoms and repression |
Saturday November 14, 2009 19:47 by Freda H - IPSC info at ipsc dot ie 01 6770253
Part of the International Week of Solidarity Against the Apartheid Walls in Palestine and Siege of Gaza
Today Saturday 14th November 2009 hundreds of Palestinians and solidarity activists rallied in Dublin to protest against Israel’s apartheid practices in Palestine. The rally - part of an international week of global mobilisation against the walls of apartheid in Palestine from November 9th to 16th 2009, called by the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign – was compèred by Freda Hughes (IPSC PRO), Caoimhe Butterly (renowned Irish human rights activist), Ger Cassidy (Viva Palestina), Sameh Habeeb (Gazan Journalist and human rights activist), John Hurson (Where Do the Children Play?), Pete St. John-Jones (International Solidarity Activist in Bil’in).
Speakers highlighted the brutality of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, with particular reference to the Siege of Gaza and the Israel’s Apartheid Walls in Palestine. They spoke of their efforts, both in Ireland and in Palestine, to raise awareness among civil and political society, as well as their various efforts to help people on the ground in Palestine. Freda Hughes, the IPSC PRO, stressed the need to build a broad based social mass-movement to convey the reality of the situation in Palestine to mainstream society.
Following the speeches protestors marched around the central reservation on O’Connell Street chanting slogans in support of the Palestinian people, carrying colourful flags, placards and banners in a loud and spirited demonstration.
After the rally, an IPSC press conference was held in the Teachers’ Club. The reason for the conference was to raise awareness of the ongoing media difficulties surrounding the occupation of Palestine, to highlight the impressive role the Irish trade union movement has played in pushing for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, and to launch the IPSC’s campaign aimed at building public support to convince Irish multinational CRH to divest from Israel .
Peter McLoone, General Secretary of IMPACT, who was a member of the ICTU delegation that visited Palestine in November 2007, spoke of his experiences in Palestine during the trip. Mr. McLoone said: “There is no doubt that the people of Palestine are suffering. There is no doubt that people are dying and there is no doubt that people are living in fear. No amount of Israeli propaganda can counteract what I have seen on the ground.”
Mr. McLoone continued: “The trade union movement in Ireland is determined to take Palestinian solidarity activism to a new level. We are determined to engage with other trade unions to encourage them to adopt a policy of boycott, divestment and sanctions.”
Sameh Habeeb, Gazan journalist and human rights worker who reported prolifically and bravely during the Israeli onslaught in Dec 2008 /Jan 2009, gave an emotive account of the current situation in Gaza. He spoke of the dire medical conditions and the fact that the economy has completely collapsed. He also talked about the difficulties faced by those in education and the cripplingly high unemployment rate in the beleaguered coastal strip which is home to 1.5 million Palestinans.
Mr. Habeeb stated: “The war on Gaza was not a retaliation against Hamas rockets, the ceasefire was breached by Israel on November 4th 2008 – a fact that has been openly admitted by Israeli military sources. This was a pre-planned war. Israel’s denials regarding its targeting of civilians is propaganda and fabrication and is abhorrent in a time of such unequal conflict.”
Harry Browne, journalist and lecturer in DIT, spoke of the mainstream media bias in favour of Israel and its official sources which he said were often accepted at face value without the application of critical analysis on behalf of reporters. He stressed that some of the best and most honest reporting from Gaza came from Gazans themselves, like Sameh Habeeb, because very few Western media outlets had a presence there when the war was launched. He referred to this as “real reporting”. He also made reference to the importance of New Media such as blogs, social networking sites and independent media outlets in delivering genuine and unfiltered news coverage on an international scale.
John Dorman, the IPSC’s Divestment Officer, officially launched the IPSC’s campaign aimed at building public support to convince Irish multinational CRH to divest from Israel (For background see Note 1).
Mr. Dorman outlined the steps the IPSC are taking in this multifaceted and long-term campaign which include research, education, legal and civil aspects. He urged those concerned with CRH’s role in Israel to get involved in the campaign by contacting the IPSC, and at the very least to sign the IPSC’s petition - http://www.ipsc.ie/crhdivest
Mr. Dorman concluded: “CRH boast on their website that they adhere “to the highest standards of corporate and social responsibility” and that they state that the support the UN Declaration of Human Rights and consider human rights implications where applicable in all contracts. In light of this, we the undersigned call for CRH to immediately divest from the Mashav Group and to end its collusion with Israel’s Apartheid Regime.”
Concluding the meeting David Landy, Chair of the IPSC, encouraged people to get involved, either at home by getting involved in the IPSC and the BDS campaign, or by visiting Palestine to see the suffering of the people first hand and getting involved with grassroots and NGO campaigns there.
1. CRH’s Israeli subsidiary the Mashav Group is to acquire Hanson Israel, Israel's 2nd largest building materials company, which operates illegal quarries, asphalt, aggregate and cement factories in the Occupied West Bank.
Added to this CRH (through Mashav) owns a 25% stake in the Nesher Cement company that provides 85% of all cement in Israel. Therefore, the Irish company CRH is currently complicit in the violation of international law through illegal mining activities in Palestine, as well as the construction of Israel's Apartheid Wall in the West Bank, checkpoints and settlement-colonies.
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