More than 230 people in the Kinvara area signed a petition of support for Senator Frances Black’s Occupied Territories Bill, which seeks to end Irish trade in goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories.
Senator Frances Black, along with Palestinian Ambassador, Ahmad Abdelrazek, was in Kinvara recently to discuss how citizens and communities can contribute to securing justice and peace for Palestine. While there, Sen Black was presented with the petition of support.
The Seanad voted on the Bill last night, with support from Independents, Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil, and Labour - despite the Minister for Foreign Affiars Simon Coveney lobbying for its defeat. “The ongoing attacks on human rights in Palestine calls for a stronger response," said John Griffin, one of the Kinvara event organisers. "We are delighted TDs and senators have listened to people’s call for action by supporting the passage of Senator Black's Occupied Territories Bill. We now hope to see that support continue to ensure that the Bill progresses all the way through to the Dáil.”
Kinvara has a tradition of supporting the Palestinian people. In August 2014, the south Galway village initiated a community boycott of Israeli produce, an action that came about in response to two months of continuous bombardment of Gaza by Israeli forces that took the lives of more than 2,200 people, including more than 500 children, and displaced 500,000 more. Since then, the Galway village has played host to film screenings, exhibitions, storytellers and musicians from Palestine, and has seen friendships form over the last two summers with visits from Al-Halal Youth Football Academy from Gaza.
“This is a huge step forward in terms of real solidarity with Palestinian people, and something for people in Ireland to feel proud of," said Vicky Donnelly, another of the Kinvara event organisers. "In the 1980s, the Dunnes Stores strikers drew attention to the horror of the apartheid system in South Africa, and how a ban on imports could make a truly positive difference. Now again, Ireland has the opportunity to take a leading international role in acting for human rights.”