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12 January 2015 Edition

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Dáil passes unopposed Sinn Féin motion for Palestine

Gerry Adams barred from Gaza by Israel as international recognition of Palestine gains momentum

• Gerry Adams TD at the Palestine separation wall

The votes followed a three-day visit by Gerry Adams to Palestine and Israel in the first week of December. The Sinn Féin leader met senior political figures but was prevented by the Israeli Government from visiting Gaza

IRELAND joined more than 130 countries when the Dáil passed unopposed a Sinn Féin motion in early December to recognise the state of Palestine.

A week later, on 17 December, Sinn Féin MEPs joined European Parliament colleagues in passing a similar motion by 498 votes to 88.

The votes followed a three-day visit by Gerry Adams to Palestine and Israel in the first week of December. The Sinn Féin leader met senior political figures but was prevented by the Israeli Government from visiting Gaza. He had visited Gaza in 2009 and published a detailed report and proposals on his return to Ireland.

On his most recent visit, Adams met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for an hour of talks in Ramallah and later Dr Mustafa Barghouti, the leader of the Palestinian National Initiative. Earlier, he’d met Israeli Labour Party leader Isaac Herzog. 

The Sinn Féin leader laid a wreath at the tomb of Yasser Arafat in an official ceremony with a Palestinian state guard of honour.

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Laying a wreath at the tomb of Yasser Arafat

Commenting on the Israeli decision to deny him entry into Gaza, Gerry Adams said that the purpose of his visit had been to listen. 

“Primarily I am here to learn. When asked, I have also outlined the broad strategic approach Sinn Féin took to the Irish Peace Process.

“Central to our success has been the need for dialogue. But it also required participants to take risks for peace and to be prepared to try and understand other points of view.

“The Israeli decision is a reminder of the imperative of supporting the Palestinian efforts to secure UN and international recognition of the Palestinian state.”

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson, Chair of the European Union’s Delegation to the Palestinian Legislative Council, has criticised Israel’s “counter-productive” decision in January to withhold taxes from the Palestinian Authority after it applied to join the International Criminal Court.

“Israel fears what the International Criminal Court will uncover about its actions during last year’s onslaught in Gaza and that’s what has prompted this retrograde step,” Martina said.

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• Gerry Adams TD making a presentation to President Mahmoud Abbas

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