Dear Councilors of Dublin City Hall,
BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights and the Global Palestinian Refugee Network (Palestinian coalition of 38 civil society Organizations) would like to express our sincere appreciation and thanks for ratifying the motion to fly the Palestinian flag over Dublin City Hall as a gesture of solidarity and support for the Palestinian struggle for self-determination and justice. We also would like to thank the Sligo County Council for taking a similar decision. Know that your support and solidarity will not be forgotten.
In the eloquent words of Fatin Al-Tamini, Chairperson of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign:
“It is fitting that the flag will begin flying on May 15th, ‘Nakba Day’, or ‘the Day of the Catastrophe’ when we commemorate the forcible expulsion of over 750,000 indigenous Palestinians from their homeland between 1947 and 1949 to facilitate the creation of the apartheid state of Israel . . . until the first week of June, which marks the 50th year of Israel’s ongoing military occupation and illegal colonisation of the West Bank and Gaza.”
Israel, on daily basis is in breach of International Law, the United Nations Charter, its Conventions and Resolutions, and yet is protected from the consequences and continues to enjoy impunity. This has resulted in the largest and longest standing refugee crisis in the world: today Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons constitute 67 percent (approximately 8 million) of the Palestinian people. To this day, they are denied the exercise of their most fundamental human rights, first and foremost, the Right of Return.
Please note that the current Palestinian hunger strike is stretching into its 24th day, with the prisoners’ medical and physical conditions quickly deteriorating and yet, we are still awaiting a formal response from the international community to urge Israel to engage in negotiations with the prisoners. There are 1600 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons engaging in a mass hunger strike demanding basic human rights such as family visits, proper medical care, an end to Israel’s practice of detaining Palestinians without charge or trial known as “administrative detention” and stopping the use of isolation. Hunger strikes have long been used as a means to legitimately protest and demand basic human rights, as demonstrated by your very own Bobby Sands and his 9 comrades who made the ultimate sacrifice in order to secure theirs. We remember and take pride and hope in the resistance of the Irish people when they were under foreign occupation and their successful struggle for liberation.
In light of this on-going belligerent occupation, your continued support for Palestinian human rights is greatly appreciated but it is also crucial to take effective actions in order to pressure Israel to end its regime of occupation, colonization and apartheid.
Finally, we appeal for your urgent support to our 1,600 political prisoners in their campaign to restore and redeem their rights and dignity. In this regard, we kindly ask that you propose to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Minister Charles Flanagan, TD to address the issue and make an official statement in the Dáil.
In the words of the courageous Bobby Sands, “Everyone . . . has their own particular part to play. No part is too great or too small; no one is too old or too young to do something.”
Director of BADIL Resource Center
10 May 2017