Gaza War: Rafah Attack

Members' Statements – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 10:30 am on 28 May 2024.

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Photo of Declan Kearney Declan Kearney Sinn Féin 10:30, 28 May 2024

Today, Dáil Éireann finally recognises the state of Palestine. Whilst it happens 10 years after an Dáil unanimously adopted a Sinn Féin motion to do so, it is a hugely significant occasion. The right to Palestinian self-determination, sovereignty and statehood, which has now been affirmed by the Norwegian, Irish and Spanish states, stands in defiance of Israel's apartheid system in, and occupation of, Palestine.

This is day 235 of Netanyahu's genocidal war in Gaza. On Sunday night, a fireball caused by Israeli missiles fired at tents in Rafah, incinerating over 45 displaced Palestinians alive and decapitating children, was an unparalleled atrocity. It was Israel's latest response to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) order for an end to the slaughter in Gaza and the announcements by Ireland, Spain and Norway. The Western Governments that have refused to stop arming and funding that murder machine are complicit in the massacre. Sunday's atrocity was the action of an Administration that is out of control. It is beyond the pale of humanity. The denial of Palestinian national and human rights is, however, now centre stage.

The moral courage of South Africa at the ICJ has been a catalyst for turning world popular opinion. Other states in Europe will now follow Ireland's lead, but more must be done to maximise international pressure. Comprehensive political and economic sanctions must be applied, and arms embargoes must be imposed. International law must be actively enforced against Netanyahu's Government.

Every citizen, business, community group and public body can play a part by using legitimate boycott and divestment policies against Israel's war economy. Every single opportunity must be used to demand a permanent ceasefire, a complete withdrawal of all Israeli forces from Gaza and the West Bank, unimpeded humanitarian access into the Gaza Strip and an end to settler colonial expansions. This Netanyahu Government have put themselves beyond all accepted international and diplomatic legal norms, and they must be totally isolated.