The issue of house demolitions and displacement was included in an event on 25 February at Stormont, home of Northern Ireland’s General Assembly. Entitled ‘How can Northern Ireland respond to Israel’s illegal settlement policies’, it was organised by the Palestine Society at Queen’s University, Belfast.
The aim of the day was to provide information in support of A No Day Named Motion submitted to the Assembly calling for an Ethical and Human Rights approach to the way in which Northern Ireland commences trade and investment. It calls for “robust leadership from the Executive for a Northern Ireland wide boycott of companies that are complicit in illegal settlement of occupied territories and goods from those territories”.
Linda Ramsden, Director, ICAHD UK, set the scene for the day by explaining the “Matrix of Control” that Israel has imposed over the Palestinian people and the facts on the ground which would render Israel’s Occupation irreversible. Reference was made to ICAHD’s latest photographic exhibition which was also on display at Stormont.
Speaking after the event society Vice-President Gary Spedding said “This event has shown that people in Northern Ireland can and are indeed willing to come together, regardless of political background or community. By uniting around human rights principles and international law we can push a non-sectarian, sustainable and strategic way forward for Palestinians and Israelis. Through implementing accountability mechanisms we are adding a desperately needed action that may contribute towards bringing an end to Israel’s illegal settlement policies and get past this intractable impasse to peace. Pushing a motion to boycott and divest away from complicity in illegal activities is a basic step that Northern Ireland can take and I implore MLAs to support the motion when it reaches the Assembly floor.”
Later that evening Linda Ramsden also spoke at an Amnesty – Belfast meeting.