Bacik calls on all parties to sign up to cross-party motion in support of South African ICJ case

Ivana Bacik TD
17 January 2024

Today, 17th January, Labour Leader Ivana Bacik TD has called on Leaders of all political parties and groupings in Dáil Éireann to work together and sign up to a cross-party motion, drafted by Sadaka, which would resolve to conduct an assessment for the purpose of Article I of the Genocide Convention of whether there is a serious risk that genocide is being committed in the context of the war in Gaza, taking into account the views of relevant experts, and to present the conclusion of this assessment to Dáil Éireann at the earliest possible opportunity; to identify the measures that the State could use to deter the commission of genocide, including those stemming from relevant political and trade links, and to report to Dáil Éireann on those measures at the earliest possible opportunity; to join the proceedings brought by South Africa against Israel to the International Court of Justice as an intervener, supporting in particular the request of South Africa for provisional measures requiring Israel to suspend its military operations against Gaza, among other measures.

Deputy Bacik said,

“Since the appalling Hamas attack on 7th October 2023, carnage has been wrought in Gaza. More than 23,000 people – approximately 1% of the entire population – of Gaza have been killed and a vast amount of civilian infrastructure destroyed. The scale of the violence is devastating.

“The only way to achieve any resolution, for communities in both Israel and Gaza, is for immediate de-escalation and a permanent ceasefire, through regional and international diplomacy. In line with UN Security Council Resolutions, lasting peace can only be based on an enduring commitment to the two-state solution that meets Israeli and Palestinian security needs and Palestinian aspirations for statehood and sovereignty. Meaningful talks to achieve those aims can only begin in earnest when the bloodshed stops.

“Yesterday, I contacted all Party Leaders and Whips, seeking their signatures on a cross-party motion, drafted by Sadaka. It offers a measured and robust series of calls, to which all parties should be in a position to sign.

“There is precedent for securing cross-party support on these matters; and Ireland has achieved just that on several occasions. The Occupied Territories Bill, which would ban trade with occupied territories including Israeli settlements, passed all stages in the Seanad, and a first vote in Dáil Éireann in early 2019. In 2021, the Dáil made history again as the first national assembly in a European Union country to vote, unanimously, to condemn the de facto annexation of Palestine by Israeli authorities. Indeed, on 18th October 2023, the Dáil was nearly successful in agreeing the wording of a motion which responded to the awful violence in Israel and Gaza that month.

“So, there is precedent for the Dáil to speak with one voice – representing the clear will of people in Ireland – in condemnation of the brutality of the Israeli government’s policies. The Oireachtas had made history before in this regard, and we now have a moral imperative to do so again.

“I was disappointed that the Tánaiste and the Taoiseach have both insisted on reserving their position before provisional measures are decided by the International Court of Justice. In answer to my question in the Dáil today, Minister Heather Humphreys doubled down on that regrettable position, which falls short of what is now needed. She stated that there must be accountability. That is true, and it requires strong advocacy and support for international law to take its course. We in Labour are calling on the Government to work with us on the text of the motion, which was drafted by Sadaka. Differences of opinion and strategy should not lead us to silence. Rather, it should cause us to work together, and to secure agreement on what statements can be made. Ireland has always taken a strong stance on the repression of people in Palestine, and legislators across the House must face up to our collective responsibility in continuing to do so.”

Text of draft motion is available here.

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