What I saw in Palestine

by Tony Gregory, TD*
June 2005

This was my second visit to the occupied territories in Palestine.

My earlier visit was at the beginning of the first Intifada - in the late 1980s.

Things have not improved since then; if anything, they are worse.

It's only when you go there and see at first hand the deliberate policy of suppression and impoverishment of the Palestinian people that you fully appreciate the enormity of this crime against humanity.

We now see the creation of apartheid regions and structures by the Israelis where settlers move in, occupy the most dominant part of an area, and build their fortified settlements, often cutting off the most arable land from the Palestinian villages and homes. Road access is blocked off in an attempt to make continued existence for the Palestinians unsustainable.

A further ingredient is the construction of motorways and tunnels linking the settlements - motorways which are exclusive to the Israeli settlers with the Palestinians excluded.

All of this continues regardless of peace initiatives.

World bodies have taken no effective action against this apartheid policy. Even the E.U. continues with its preferential trade agreement with Israel. U.N. Sanctions against Israel are not even considered since Israel is a puppet of the U.S.

This is clearly one of the great injustices of the world today, perpetrated against a largely defenceless people.

I raised our visit with the Minister for Foreign Affairs at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee and I will continue to raise the plight of the Palestinian People at every opportunity.

*Tony Gregory is a TD (Teachta Dála -- Member of the Irish Parliament) for Dublin Central. He was one of 5 Irish politicians who visited Palestine in early June 2005.