We must throw our weight behind BDS - Hamill

SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE GREAT RETURN MARCH on March 30th this year, the Israeli military has murdered 34 peaceful Palestinian protestors, shot and injured over 1,200 and upwards of 1,500 have suffered due to teargas inhalation.

The Palestinians are marching along the border of the besieged Gaza strip, demonstrating their very just and legal right to return to the land that they were forced from with the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

This year marks 70 years since al-Nakbah, literally – ‘the disaster’, where a quarter of a million Palestinians, two-thirds of the population at the time, were ethnically cleansed and forcibly removed from the homes.

Palestinians now number the world’s largest refugee population, currently standing at 6.5 million people. The right of return for Palestinians is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is continuously supported by the United Nations General Assembly.

The shocking and disturbing scenes we have witnessed from Palestine since the beginning of the Great March of Return are sadly not unfamiliar. Despite this, and despite the brutality of the Israeli regime, it is inspiring to see the incredible bravery of the thousands of Palestinians who continue to march for the right of their people to return to their land.

Palestine needs us. 

We have seen a tremendous outpouring of solidarity with the Palestinian people across Ireland over the last few weeks in the forms of protests, and the growing calls to expel Israel’s ambassador in Ireland. 

We now need to put meat on the bones. To reaffirm our support, and to throw our full weight behind the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, and to hit the Israeli state where it hurts – the purse strings.

Israel’s disgraceful and ultimately self-embarrassing attempt to try and prevent the democratically elected Mayor of Dublin, Sinn Féin’s Mícheál Mac Donncha, from travelling to Ramallah due to his support for BDS, shows how afraid they are of it.

Taking action can be as simple as checking the barcodes, Israeli goods usually start with 7 29, but also checking the label of origin to ensure we aren’t purchasing anything from Israel, especially those coming from illegally occupied Palestinian land.

Due to the silence and inaction of the international community, and in particular that of the Irish and British governments, the onus falls on us to take every possible action to combat Israeli state brutality and apartheid. Each and every one of us must become champions of BDS in our own daily lives.

Talk to your friends, your family, ask them to check their labels, and most importantly encourage them too to become full supporters of BDS. 

Boycott Israeli goods. Free Palestine.

Aodhán Hamill, Chairperson of Ógra Shinn Féin

Ógra Shinn Féin