The Union of Students in Ireland expresses its devastation and grief at the loss of all innocent lives due to the recent escalation of violence in Palestine, focused particularly on Gaza and on both sides of the Gazan border.

USI condemns Israel’s disproportionate and retaliatory attacks on the people of Gaza and rejects the claims of ‘self-defence’ as justification for the collective punishment of Palestinian civilians.

In line with USI policies and mandates, USI reiterates our utmost support for the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, and our strong opposition to the occupation of Palestine, which has continued to escalate in recent times.

As stated time and time again by USI and many others, the international community has stood by and allowed the persecution of the Palestinian people and the upholding of an apartheid system by the occupying state of Israel for decades, to a point that is unbearable.

USI stands with the people of Palestine and reaffirms its position in favour of a peaceful resistance against that apartheid and occupation, and will continue to mobilise against Israel’s international war crimes and acts of genocide against the 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza.

We call on the Government of Ireland, the European Union and its allies to act immediately against the breaking of these fundamental international humanitarian laws.

On October 9, Israeli Defence Minister, Yoav Gallant, publicly showcased the disproportionate nature of the response of the state of Israel on the people of Gaza when he stated: “I have ordered a complete siege on the Gaza strip. There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed. We are fighting human animals, and we act accordingly.”

This statement indicates a complete disregard for the lives of the people living under siege in Gaza, and amounts to collective punishment, potentially genocide, and other war crimes.

The student movement has historically stood at the forefront of important societal change – nationally and internationally – including against apartheid in South Africa, for civil rights in the USA and to tackle the global climate crisis. Currently, Student’s Unions across Europe are also involved in supporting Ukrainian refugees and students remaining in Ukraine.

USI is proud to stand with Palestine and in favour of peaceful resistance against apartheid and occupation, to be anti-war in all instances, to mobilise against the collective punishment of Palestinian people, and to give weight to credible news and information sources reporting on the situation as it escalates.

The USI Coiste Gnó calls on the European Students Union (ESU) to join USI in boycotting Israeli corporations, institutions and companies, and in advocating for a position of academic resistance, led by students and their representatives.

USI believes that the only means to end all the violence, the violence of the oppressor and the reactive armed resistance of the oppressed, is to take action to end its root cause – oppression and occupation.

To this end, USI believes that Irish Government should immediately:

  1. Call on the international community to refrain from fuelling the ongoing attacks and oppose the scaling up of Israeli military measures, particularly those that target or fail to protect the vulnerable civilian population.
  2. Strongly condemn the cutting off all fundamental supplies (electricity, fuel, water, food and medicines) from the people of Gaza, which are clear acts of collective punishment.
  3. To strictly uphold Ireland’s position of neutrality in armed confrontations, and to equally stand against all instances of occupation, colonialism and apartheid.
  4. To push for the EU to make a solemn commitment to end its decades of passivism and enabling of the state of Israel.
  5. To recognise in all its statements, particularly those made by the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Minister for Defence and Minister for Foreign Affairs, that the ultimate root of violence is the continuous oppression of the Palestinian people and the allowing of the furtherment of Zionist ideology that is based on the ethnic cleansing of this population.
  6. To end the complicity of universities in Israeli’s apartheid regime, by cancelling all joint projects and activities with complicit Israeli universities, and divest from all investments in the arms industry.
  7. To implement the ‘Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018,’ which would ban any goods or services produced, even partially, in the Israeli occupied territories, including the Golan Heights.