Northern Ireland

Michelle O’Neill: Sinn Féin will speak up for Palestinians on St Patrick’s Day visit to Washington

Israel continues to bombard parts of Gaza (Adel Hana/AP)
Israel continues to bombard parts of Gaza (Adel Hana/AP) (Adel Hana/AP)

Across the world, people of every nation have been horrified at the daily slaughter we are witnessing in Gaza for several months now.

It is clearer now than ever that all international efforts must be for an immediate ceasefire, the release of all hostages and a genuine process to establish Palestinian statehood.

Sinn Féin stands unequivocally with the Palestinian people as they endure the massacre of their children on a daily basis.

We stand with the international movement for freedom and justice.

We oppose Israel’s apartheid regime.

We support the right of self-determination for Palestine.

At home, within the EU institutions and through all our international engagements, Sinn Féin will continue to raise the obscenity of the genocide occurring in Gaza, which is the latest chapter in a long tale of oppression that has brutalised generations of Palestinians.

The barbarity of Israel’s actions in Gaza cannot be justified by claiming it is a form of self-defence.

Destroying hospitals, cutting off water supplies, displacing an entire population is not self-defence.

Michelle O’Neill said local parties needed to seize the ‘enormous economic opportunities ahead’
Sinn Fein deputy leader, Michelle O’Neill (Liam McBurney/PA)

Murdering children is not self-defence.

Recently, South Africa has shown genuine political and moral leadership to the international community in bringing a genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice because of its actions in Gaza.

It is urgent and imperative that the Irish government support South Africa’s case in The Hague. Ireland must use all our influence to press for ceasefire, humanitarian aid and Palestinian self-determination.

The refusal of powerful nations to support an immediate ceasefire in Gaza is unconscionable.

All world leaders now face a choice. It is a choice between an international order based on human rights, justice and the rule of law – or one based on savagery and the brutal maxim that ‘might is right’.

No country should be supplying arms or other material to Israel to further its genocide of the Palestinian people.

No country should offer any support – political, moral or economic to Israel’s apartheid regime or seek to give cover to its war crimes.

It is against this international backdrop and standing on these important principles that Sinn Féin representatives will travel to the US for St Patrick’s Day.

The US has long played an important, positive and deeply valued role in the peace process in Ireland.

This St Patrick’s Day, in continuing our work with the Irish diaspora and US representatives to promote and strengthen support for the Irish peace process and Irish reunification, we will also be making clear our views on the situation in Gaza.

Sinn Féin leaders will raise the urgent issues of human rights, justice and the need for the rule of law to be applied in Gaza and the West Bank.

We will state the case that Israel must be held to account for its actions and will urge the US to join calls for a ceasefire.

Sinn Féin will express its view as a party with a long and intimate understanding of the difficult journey from conflict to peace in Ireland.

We will use our experience of building peace to make the case that US support for international peace efforts are critical.

Through many years of political struggle and experience of negotiation, Sinn Féin believes strongly in the efficacy of political engagement at all levels in efforts to find solutions to seemingly intractable issues, particularly those of conflict and war.

Sinn Féin has a long and enduring history of solidarity and support for the cause of freedom and self-determination for the Palestinians. We know that to speak up you have to show up.

In the US, as at home and in any other international forum, we will fulfil our promise for Palestine.