Upholding human rights must be central to any peace solution after the violence visited on Gaza, SDLP MP Mark Durkan has said.
Mr Durkan was speaking after meeting with Lubnah Shomali from the BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency & Refugee Rights in Derry on Friday.
Ms Shomali who was the keynote speaker at Trócaire’s annual human rights talk at An Culturlann as part of the Gasyard Féile.
Mr Durkan said: “I was delighted to meet Lubnah Shomali from the BADIL Center – which has a special consultative status with the UN – and who are supported by Trócaire in its role of legal empowerment using analysis and advocacy for a rights-based solution in Palestine and Israel.
“Lubnah acknowledged the strong public solidarity in Derry and Ireland in opposition to the onslaught on Gaza.
“She highlighted that Israel’s status as the ‘occupying power’ means that in international law it is attacking its own subjects and cannot do so under a claim of self-defence.
“She also made the point that structured Israeli policy has made two-thirds of the Palestinian population refugees and 80% dependent on foreign aid.”
Mr Durkan went on to say that the compelling outline given during the talk showed historic, systemic and ongoing population transfer as a root cause of conflict.
“Forceful displacing of Palestinians, illegal settlements, seam zones, restrictions on rights, status and movement, and the overall condition of impoverished entrapment reflect a violence which in turn begets violence,” he said, adding:
“The quality work of the BADIL Resource Center in identifying and challenging the injustices which drive conflict is rightly supported by Trócaire.
“It is important to assert that the problem has roots that are political and structural, and that any hope of a solution with new relationships has to be founded on human rights, the primacy of humanitarian principles and adherence to international law.
“The comments from those attending the talk rightly reflected the disgust at Israel’s ‘Operation Protective Edge’ and its mass civilian victimisation.”