Annexation of Palestine: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members]

The following motion was moved by Deputy John Brady on Tuesday, 25 May 2021:
That Dáil Éireann:
— notes that recent weeks have seen the most serious escalation of violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory (i.e. the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip) since 2014, with a tragic impact on innocent civilians and loss of life, including the deaths of at least 65 children;
— condemns the targeting of civilian infrastructure, and the loss of civilian life, and recalls the obligations on all parties under international humanitarian law and international human rights law to protect civilians;
— welcomes the announcement of the ceasefire of 21st May, and calls on all parties to support its implementation;
— emphasises the importance of immediate and unimpeded access for vital humanitarian assistance for those in need;
— affirms that a just and lasting peace requires addressing the poverty, inequality, injustice and underlying root causes of these cycles of violence, and meaningful accountability for breaches of international law; and
— recognises that the forced displacement of the protected Palestinian population and the presence and expansion of Israeli settlements, in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, undermines the prospects of peace, not just in recent weeks but over decades, and represent flagrant violations of international law;
further notes that:
— the annexation of territory, whether de jure or de facto, is a violation of the fundamental principle of international law enshrined in Article 2(4) of the United Nations (UN) Charter which states ‘All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations’, and UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2334 (December 2016) on Israel underscores ‘the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force’, echoing the original phrase from UNSC Resolution 242 in November 1967;
— the Geneva Conventions of 1949, and their protocols, bind Ireland as a High Contracting Party, and provide that parties to the Conventions must respect and ensure respect for the Conventions;
— the transfer by an Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies is prohibited under the Fourth Geneva Convention;
— in its 2004 advisory opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the International Court of Justice held that the construction of the wall and its associated regime ‘create a “fait accompli” on the ground that could well become permanent, in which case, and notwithstanding the formal characterization of the wall by Israel, it would be tantamount to de facto annexation.';
— Israel has altered and purports to alter the character and status of Jerusalem, by annexing the territory de jure, and has extended its ‘law, jurisdiction and administration’ to the occupied Syrian Golan and the UNSC has condemned both steps as having ‘no legal validity’ and constitute ‘a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention’ in UNSC Resolutions 476 and 478 (Jerusalem) and 497 (Syrian Golan);
— there are now over 600,000 Israeli settlers living in illegal settlements established in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Israeli Government continues the expansion of these settlements;
— the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, in his report to the UN General Assembly 73rd Session on 22nd October, 2018, concluded ‘Statements of political intent, together with Israel’s colonizing facts on the ground, its legislative activity, and its refusal to adhere to its solemn obligations under international law or to follow the direction of the international community with respect to its 51-year-old occupation, have established the probative evidence that Israel has effectively annexed a significant part of the West Bank and is treating this territory as its own’; and
— the Minister for Foreign Affairs stated on 23rd April, 2020, regarding developments in Israel, that ‘Annexation of territory by force is prohibited under international law, including the UN Charter, whenever and wherever it occurs, in Europe’s neighbourhood or globally. This is a fundamental principle in the relations of states and the rule of law in the modern world. No one state can set it aside at will’;
recalls that Ireland distinguishes between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967, including illegal Israeli settlements, land appropriated for future settlements, and territory incorporated by the wall and its associated regime;
condemns the recent and ongoing forced displacement of Palestinian communities in the occupied Palestinian territory;
further condemns the annexation by Israel of East Jerusalem and its settlement activity there and in other areas of the West Bank, as serious breaches of international law and as major obstacles to peace that undermine the viability of the two-State solution;
declares that Israel’s actions amount to unlawful de facto annexation of that territory; and calls on the Government:
— not to recognise as lawful any situation created by any such serious breach of international law, nor to imply such recognition, and to not render aid or assistance to the responsible state in maintaining the situation so created and to cooperate to bring the serious breach to an end;
— to urge Israel to bring to an end all settlement activity and not to impede the collective right to self-determination of the Palestinian people as a whole; and
— to focus its efforts on bringing an end to settlement activity and to regularly update Dáil Éireann.
The following amendment to the motion was agreed on Tuesday, 25 May 2021:
To delete all words from “condemns the targeting of civilian infrastructure” up to and including the words “international human rights law to protect civilians” and substitute the following:
“—condemns the violent acts of Hamas and other militant groups, including the firing of rockets and incendiary devices from Gaza into Israel, the disproportionate and indefensible response of Israel bombing civilians and essential infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, the loss of life in both Israel and Palestine, and recalls the obligations on all parties under international humanitarian law and international human rights law to protect civilians and children while providing humanitarian supports to help rebuild Gaza.”
-(Minister for Foreign Affairs)
Debate resumed on amendment No. 1:
To insert the following after "settlement activity and to regularly update Dáil Éireann":
- publicly declare that the State of Israel is guilty of war crimes for its killing of innocent men, women and, most horrifically, 63 children in the Gaza Strip over recent weeks;
- acknowledge that:
- the recent escalation of violence was provoked by the attempt to ethnically cleanse 28 Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jerah area of Jerusalem and replace them with illegal Israeli settlers;
- these latest atrocities and war crimes perpetrated by the State of Israel are not isolated incidents but are part of an ongoing and systematic campaign by the Israeli State to ethnically cleanse the Palestinian people from their land and deny them basic rights under international and human rights law – a campaign that has been pursued relentlessly since the foundation of the State in 1948; and
- Israel, in its basic laws and practices, is an apartheid state, similar to the former apartheid state of South Africa, as defined by the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (UNGA Resolution 3068 (1973)) and that Israel’s apartheid character has been confirmed by both the main Israeli human rights organisation, B’Tselem and the main United States based human rights organisation, Human Rights Watch;
- publicly assert that the Israeli apartheid system, through its ongoing ethnic cleansing, brutal state repression and murderous military violence – including four savage military assaults on Gaza in recent years, has no place among the international community of nations; and
- therefore to:
- expel the Israeli ambassador and all Israel diplomatic staff from Ireland;
- apply a comprehensive package of economic, political and cultural sanctions against the State of Israel, similar to that applied to apartheid South Africa; and
- maintain sanctions and promote them within the EU and internationally until the entire Israeli apartheid system is dismantled and all the Palestinian people enjoy national self-determination and full and equal rights, including the right to return of all Palestinian refugees expelled since 1948 and all their descendants, as required by international law (UN Resolution 194).
-(Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett)

I must now deal with a postponed division relating to amendment No. 1 in the name of Solidarity-People Before Profit Deputies to the motion on the annexation of Palestine. Yesterday, on the question, "That the amendment be made", a division was claimed and that division must be taken now.

Amendment put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 46; Níl, 87; Staon, 0.

  • Andrews, Chris.
  • Barry, Mick.
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Brady, John.
  • Browne, Martin.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Carthy, Matt.
  • Clarke, Sorca.
  • Conway-Walsh, Rose.
  • Cronin, Réada.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Daly, Pa.
  • Donnelly, Paul.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Farrell, Mairéad.
  • Funchion, Kathleen.
  • Gannon, Gary.
  • Gould, Thomas.
  • Guirke, Johnny.
  • Healy-Rae, Michael.
  • Kenny, Gino.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • Kerrane, Claire.
  • Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Mythen, Johnny.
  • O'Callaghan, Cian.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • O'Rourke, Darren.
  • Ó Broin, Eoin.
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Murchú, Ruairí.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Quinlivan, Maurice.
  • Ryan, Patricia.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smith, Bríd.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Ward, Mark.
  • Whitmore, Jennifer.
  • Wynne, Violet-Anne.


  • Berry, Cathal.
  • Brophy, Colm.
  • Browne, James.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Burke, Peter.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Cahill, Jackie.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Canney, Seán.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Carroll MacNeill, Jennifer.
  • Chambers, Jack.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • Costello, Patrick.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Crowe, Cathal.
  • Devlin, Cormac.
  • Dillon, Alan.
  • Donnelly, Stephen.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Duffy, Francis Noel.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Feighan, Frankie.
  • Flaherty, Joe.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Fleming, Sean.
  • Foley, Norma.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harkin, Marian.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Higgins, Emer.
  • Hourigan, Neasa.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Lahart, John.
  • Lawless, James.
  • Leddin, Brian.
  • Lowry, Michael.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • Martin, Catherine.
  • Matthews, Steven.
  • McAuliffe, Paul.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Murnane O'Connor, Jennifer.
  • Murphy, Verona.
  • Nash, Ged.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Noonan, Malcolm.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Brien, Joe.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Connor, James.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Donnell, Kieran.
  • O'Donovan, Patrick.
  • O'Dowd, Fergus.
  • O'Gorman, Roderic.
  • O'Sullivan, Christopher.
  • O'Sullivan, Pádraig.
  • Ó Cathasaigh, Marc.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán.
  • Rabbitte, Anne.
  • Richmond, Neale.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Shanahan, Matt.
  • Sherlock, Sean.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smith, Duncan.
  • Smyth, Niamh.
  • Smyth, Ossian.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Varadkar, Leo.


Tellers: Tá, Deputies Gino Kenny and Richard Boyd Barrett; Níl, Deputies Brendan Griffin and Jack Chambers.
Amendment declared lost.
Deputy Holly Cairns did not vote in this division due to an agreed pairing arrangement with Minister Helen McEntee for the duration of the Minister’s maternity leave.
Explanation under Standing Order 157(3) as received from Deputy Mick Barry
I oppose the Israeli capitalist state and its oppression of the Palestinian people. I voted for this amendment as it would be understood as a strong condemnation of the Israeli regime.
I caution against the “international community of nations” referred to. It is just self-serving capitalist states, who will continue to seek to exploit the Middle East for the profits of big business interests.
I called on ICTU to organise workers' sanctions on goods that could be used to aid the Israeli military and on companies - both Israeli and others - who profit from the occupation and oppression of Palestine. I have issues with the blanket call for a boycott as consumer boycotts are not very effective. The apartheid regime in South Africa was brought down by the unprecedented mass resistance of millions of workers and young people. The recent mass actions - including workers’ strikes by Palestinians - show the potential for such a struggle. Calls for blanket boycotts can also be counterproductive as the Israeli ruling class use its blanket character to say ordinary Israelis are being targeted in order to re-enforce its propaganda, and try to hide the real class antagonisms in Israeli society.
There can be no justice or democratic rights on the basis of the economic, political, social and national exploitation and oppression inherent in capitalism and imperialism. I favour the overthrow of the Israeli capitalist state and of the corrupt capitalist regimes in neighbouring states by movements of workers and young people in the region, for social liberation, an end to all national oppression and equal rights to all nations.
Motion, as amended, put and agreed to.
The Dáil adjourned at 8.05 p.m. until 8.50 a.m. on Thursday, 27 May 2021.