Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle: Government must stop blocking the Occupied Territories Bill

Pringle: Government must stop blocking the Occupied Territories BillPringle: Government must stop blocking the Occupied Territories Bill

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, has called on Government to stop blocking the Occupied Territories Bill immediately.

Addressing the Dáil on Tuesday, Deputy Pringle said: “We need to ensure that our trade does not legitimise the continued breach of international law and violations of human rights by Israel. I call on this government to stop blocking the Occupied Territories Bill, introduced by Senator Frances Black and the Civil Engagement Group in 2018, immediately.

“The Irish people share a very strong and unique bond with the people of Palestine, due to our shared history of struggle and oppression. We have seen this when we voted unanimously to condemn Israel’s de facto annexation of Palestinian land in the occupied territories. We’ve seen this when thousands attended rallies across the country in solidarity with Palestine and we’ve seen this in the calls from the Irish people to boycott Israeli goods and to expel the Israeli ambassador.

“By ignoring these calls and by blocking the Occupied Territories Bill, this government is not representing us. They are not representing the Irish people. Palestinians are quite literally living in an open-air prison and we will continue to speak out until Palestine is free.”

Noting that Monday was the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Deputy Pringle said: “It is important that we speak out against the occupation and colonisation of Palestine and the constant campaigns of dehumanisation that Palestinians face every day.

“The situation in the occupied Palestinian territory is incredibly concerning as we hear of increased levels of disposition, violence and insecurity,” he said. He said the designation of six Palestinian civil society organisations as “terrorist” by the Israeli defence minister is especially concerning.

The deputy also said the pandemic has had a substantial impact on Palestinian women and girls, with an appalling 70 per cent rise in calls reporting gender-based violence.

He said: “We must condemn violence against women in the strongest way possible and we must be a voice for the voiceless.”

Deputy Pringle said: “We have seen Palestinian property confiscated and Palestinian families forcibly displaced. This has been particularly difficult for families in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially given the large-scale demolition of health facilities that occurred here during the pandemic, so much so that only 22 per cent of health facilities in the Gaza strip now remain.

“At the same time, we’ve heard reports of Israel selling their surplus vaccinations overseas while, as of August, a mere 16 per cent of eligible Palestinians have been vaccinated,” he said.

Deputy Pringle said: “This is absolutely disgraceful and Ireland needs to step up and stand against this inequality and this apartheid state.”