Gaza War

Members' Statements – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 12:30 pm on 8 April 2024.

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Photo of Gerry Carroll Gerry Carroll People Before Profit Alliance 12:30, 8 April 2024

What kind of horror will it take for the Executive to condemn Israel's genocidal actions in Gaza? Over 33,000 people are dead, with eight being killed every hour. Generations upon generations of Palestinian families have been wiped out, and their memories, cultures, hopes and dreams are gone. Israel is systematically starving some two million Palestinians, forcing them to live on 245 calories per day. We have seen children deliberately targeted by Israeli snipers and aid workers and medical workers murdered, all without accountability. The list goes on and on.

Yet this Executive, a supposed bastion of peace and peacebuilding, have not uttered a single word about the evil that is unfolding. Where is the Executive's call for a ceasefire? Where are the joint statements of condemnation? This Government, which, patronisingly, hold up our flawed peace process as an example to the world, cannot even bring themselves to criticise a raft of bloodthirsty war criminals who are committing a genocide in daylight. Northern exceptionalism should not be an excuse to ignore a genocide. If the DUP and Sinn Féin can present a united front to schmooze with genocide backer Joe Biden, then they should, surely, be able to criticise an apartheid state that has massacred people with impunity.

In the past six months alone, Israel has bombed Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, Iran and Yemen. Not only have the British and US Governments continued to fund the slaughter and arm the Israeli state to the hilt, they have joined in on the bombing of places such as Yemen. Despite the horror that we have seen, the liberal media and western Governments, supposed defenders of democracy, continue to gobble up and spew out Israel's base propaganda. The state, which some months ago denied that it would ever attack a hospital, has launched 48 attacks on healthcare facilities in the Gaza Strip, including the now decimated Al-Shifa hospital.

What kind of Executive cannot collectively condemn the barbarity that we have seen? We have seen babies lying dead and decomposing on beds in hospitals that people were forced to flee to due to Israeli bombs and bullets, with not a word from this Executive. We have heard about pregnant women going through C-sections without any anaesthetic but not a word from the Stormont Executive. People have been found bulldozed and buried in the rubble of hospitals but there has not been a single word about it.

Palestine is the litmus test of our humanity and the ruling parties here and across the world are failing that test every single day. Therefore, it is up to ordinary people to challenge them. People need to keep pushing for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, not just to punish the genocide but to help dismantle the savage occupation and apartheid system that has been imposed on the Palestinian people for 75-plus years.

We must redouble our efforts to turn Ireland into an anti-apartheid island, North and South. We need to keep marching to expel the Israeli ambassador —

Photo of Gerry Carroll Gerry Carroll People Before Profit Alliance

— and bring BDS into our workplaces.