By Omar Barghouti, via email – 6 May 2010
Irish Senators and Members of Parliament (TDs in Irish) are leading the way
in explicitly calling on the Irish government to VETO Israel’s membership in
the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an
exclusive club of 30 of the richest industrialized states.
Standing up to the “common sense” approach of official Europe of following
the US hegemonic lead and praising Israel’s restraint for not killing off or
ethnically cleansing all Palestinians, these Irish senators and TDs have
proven that principle and commitment to human rights can — and should —
overcome political convenience and complacency, even in a country whose
economy is relatively small and suffering from a deep financial crisis. A
true Irish spirit of justice!
We hope parliamentarians in Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey, Norway, Belgium,
Spain, among other members of the OECD, will live up to the same level of
moral and political responsibility and act to end Israel’s impunity before
it is too late.
The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) with many civil society
partners in several countries are waging an intensive lobbying effort to
convince at least one state member of the OECD (each member has a veto) to
vote against Israel’s accession until it fully complies with its obligations
under international law and respects Palestinian rights.
The lack of an official, written statement from the PLO opposing Israel’s
membership in the OECD is making life much more difficult for the BNC and
civil society at large. Still, Israel’s failure to comply with the OECD’s
principles, benchmarks and main criteria for membership is so blatant that
some European decision makers are listening at last. Whether or not they
will have enough time or enough say to change the decision already taken by
EU states to support Israel’s membership is another story.
Rewarding Israel’s war crimes in Gaza, the Negev and Jerusalem with
membership in the OECD is a slap on the face of international law and human
decency; it may well announce the end of hope among some — whether out of
sheer naiveté, pathetic lack of information, or intentional complicity —
that the powerful governments of the world will ever deliver justice to the
Palestinian people or any other oppressed group unless they are compelled
to, mainly due to intensive, persistent and evolving civil society pressure
in conjunction with effective, intelligent and morally-consistent resistance
by the oppressed and their supporters.
Veto on Israel’s OECD membership
Madam – On May 11th, 2010, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development (OECD) will vote on whether or not to complete Israel’s
application to join its ranks.
Supporting Israel’s ascension to the OECD would be tantamount to supporting
its actions in the Occupied Territories.
The Roadmap for the Accession of Israel to the OECD Convention, adopted by
the OECD Council in November 2007 stated that Israel has to demonstrate a
commitment to pluralist democracy based on the rule of law and the respect
of human rights. Israel has proven repeatedly that it simply does not meet
this requirement, with laws in place that grant privileges for Jews over
non-Jews, who make up 20 per cent of its citizens. Furthermore, according to
a leaked OECD report, Israel breached a key requirement of membership by
including its colonies in the occupied West Bank in its economic report.
By accepting Israel, the OECD will give official approval to Israel’s
illegal occupation and colonisation of Palestinian and Syrian territories.
To ignore these facts will see the OECD violating its own foundation
Ireland was one of the six OECD members that voted in support of the
recommendations of the Goldstone Report in the United Nations. We must
reaffirm our position that Israel, like all other states, is to be held
accountable to the standards of international law and human rights.
It only takes one country to vote against accepting Israel in order to block
the process. We the undersigned, appeal to the Irish Government to show
courage and leadership, and use its vote in order to veto this application
until Israel demonstrates real commitment to the fundamental values shared
by the OECD member states.
CHRIS ANDREWS TD,
Senator JOE O’TOOLE,
Senator FIDELMA HEALY
EAMES, Senator PHIL
LABHRÁS Ó MURCHÚ,
Senator MARK DALY,
MAUREEN O’SULLIVAN TD,
JOE COSTELLO TD,
Senator IVOR CALLELY
Senator DAN BOYLE,
DARRAGH O’BRIEN TD,
AENGUS O SNODAIGH TD,
CHARLIE O’CONNOR TD,
JOHN BROWNE TD,
MARTIN FERRIS TD,
TIMMY DOOLEY TD
MATTIE MCGRATH TD,
Leinster House, Dublin 2.