The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) launched its new Northwest Branch at a public meeting in Sligo on Saturday 26 September in the Glasshouse Hotel.
Around 40 people attended the inaugural meeting of the Northwest IPSC. Addressing the meeting was the IPSC Boycott Officer Anne Kennedy, Fintan Lane of the Free Gaza Movement and the IPSC and Fiachra O Luain. Both Fiachra and Fintan were part of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla that was attacked on May 31 in International waters by Israel, resulting in the murder of nine pro-Palestinian activists and the wounding of many more, some of whom remain in a serious condition.
Fiachra and Fintan were among the many activists that were kidnapped by Israeli troops during the raid and forcibly brought to Israel against their will. They were abused and assaulted by their captors before being eventually deported.
First to address the meeting was Anne Kennedy who explained how illegal Israeli settlements forced local Palestinian families to abandon their farms and their homes. She also outlined the background to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, a demand that originated from within Palestinian civil society and revealed the IPSC's plans to step up the Boycott campaign over the coming weeks and months. (See http://ipsc.ie/campaigns.php for more info on the BDS campaign)
Fiachra then focused on the recently published UN Human Rights Council report into the Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and the Mavi Marmara in particular. While he welcomed the content of this report which exposed the brutal nature of Israel’s war crimes during their attack on the aid flotilla, he feared that a further UN Panel of Inquiry – established by the office of UN Generla Secretary Ban Ki Moon - may not attempt to make Israel accountable but rather help Israel cover their tracks. (See http://cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/ipsc/displayRe...D=402 for more information on the UN HRC Report)
Fiachra said: “The presence of former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe on this inquiry has made a lot of us fear that it will be used to cover Israel's tracks because of Uribe's track record of explicit support for Israel and human rights violations.” (See http://cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/ipsc/displayRe...D=387 for more information on this)
He also revealed that he had suggested to the Department of Foreign Affairs that they should sue Israel for the attack on the Mavi Marmara. He said: “I told the Department that the 'serious consequences' promised by Brian Cowen could take the form of a court case against Israel.”
He concluded by saying: “We could sue Israel for what happened on the Mavi Marmara as the boat was registered in the Comoros Islands which is a party to the Rome Conventions. This is a way that Ireland can play a leading role and hold Israel accountable for their actions.”
Outlining plans for Irish participation in a second Freedom Flotilla to Gaza in November Fintan Lane appealed for financial support and told the meeting that it is a lack of action by governments around the world that makes these flotillas necessary.
Fintan said: “Governments around the world, including governments within the EU, have said the right things on certain levels in the last couple of years. The Irish government have certainly issued strong words and strong statements and they appear to be standing in solidarity with the people of Gaza. The problem is that these words have never been followed up by strong actions.”
He added: “The attack on the flotilla was a microcosm of the daily violence inflicted on the people of Gaza and Israel needs to be put in the dock for what it did. The Israeli massacre only served to highlight the brutal nature of their enforcement of the siege and has put the spotlight firmly on what is currently happening in Gaza.”
Following the address by the three guest speakers, the meeting was opened up to the audience for a lively question and answer session.
For more information or if interested in joining or assisting the IPSC in the north west please e mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Caption: Video Id: acSmR6kUgx8 Type: Youtube Video
Video from Northwest IPSC meeting