We should not be trading with illegal settlements

February 26th, 2022 3:10 PM

By Southern Star Team

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EDITOR – Marking the World Day of Social Justice earlier this week, a coalition of more than 100 civil society organisations launched a European Citizens Initiative (ECI) to stop trade with illegal settlements in occupied territories. Many groups in Ireland are supporting the call for a new EU law to address it.

An ECI is an official instrument for democratic participation of citizens in EU policy making. If an ECI garners one million signatures from EU citizens over 12 months, then the European Commission must consider and debate the petition’s demands. Campaigners in Ireland are hoping to garner beyond the 10,000 signatures here to meet the requirement.

This ECI demands EU legislation that will outlaw trade with illegal settlements, anywhere and at all times, including trade with Israel’s illegal settlements in occupied Palestine. The coalition calls on every EU citizen concerned about human rights, social justice and fair trade to sign the petition. Even though illegal settlements constitute a war crime under international law, the EU allows trade with them.

In the case of Israel’s settlements, the UN Security Council has called on states to render them no assistance, and the European Union has repeatedly declared that they constitute a flagrant violation of international law. Nevertheless, the EU continues to trade with them, which has emboldened their ongoing expansion.

This ECI is carried out by the #StopSettlements coalition, which includes prominent civil society organisations in the field of human rights, environmental and social justice, trade unions and politicians who unite against profits from annexation and occupation to protect human rights, fair trade, and international peace.

Civil society groups in Ireland that are supporting so far include Academics For Palestine (AFP), ActionAid Ireland, Centre for Global Education, Christian Aid Ireland, Comhlámh, Financial Justice –Ireland, Gaza Action Ireland (GAI), Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign – IPSC, Irish Muslim Peace & Integration Council (IMPIC), Justice For Palestine – Comhlámh, Kaíros Íreland, National Union of Students – Union of Students in Ireland (NUS-USI), PalFest Ireland – Art/ festival Supporting Palestine, SADAKA (The Ireland Palestine Alliance), TCD Apartheid Free, Trade Union Friends of Palestine, Trócaire, Unite the Union and Uplift – People Powered Change.

To sign the petition we would ask your readers to visit uplift.ie/stopsettlements.

Siobhan O’Donoghue,


13 Dorset Street Lower,

Dublin 1.

Writing in praise of the humble mask

EDITOR – So it looks like our government thinks Covid is over and we can all go back to normal now. And not even a ‘new’ normal – just the same old same of coughing and spluttering over each other as we go.

Well I, for one, won’t be abandoning my mask any day soon.

Apart from the fact I spent the first lockdown lovingly cutting, shaping and sewing my homemade ones, and even managed to come up with a few novelty Christmas gifts as a result, I just think they are a no-brainer.

There’s a reason why the people of Asia have been wearing them for years – they work.

They don’t just help reduce the spread of Covid, they help to protect us from nasty air pollution and even the common cold.

They keep my face warm in winter, but I am happy to wear lighter ones in summer.

They can be a funky accessory or allow you to wear your (county) colours on your face, or maybe a logo for a favoured brand, or a message to the public.

I really don’t know how they didn’t become more of a tool for advertising, but maybe they still might.

After all, they’re not over yet. A bit like Covid, you might say.

As for me, I won’t be de-masking for some time. Maybe ever. So wear it loud and wear it proud.

Mask up or shut up, even. Maybe I will put that on my next one.

Susan Crowe,


People want change and SF will deliver it

EDITOR – The Claire Byrne show has done Sinn Fein a lot of good in my opinion, because it is way up in the polls since and still rising.

Eddie Hobbs’ view on socialism  about two cows in a farmer’s field is a lot of bull. I thought the Sinn Fein members answered the questions that were thrown at them very well and didn’t dwell in the past but looked to the future.

The people want housing and the high cost of living is another issue – and then there are also the health scandals. It’s not rocket science to fix things, is it?

Half a million people gave Sinn Fein their vote and they left FF and FG standing and trembling in their shoes.

The likes of this was not seen since the ’20s when 79 TDs were elected and hunted night and day by the crown forces.

The people of this country want change and Sinn Fein will deliver change for every citizen, north and south.

Noel Harrington,


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