SIPTU general secretary, Joe Cunningham, has welcomed the motion calling for an end to the annexation of Palestinian lands by Israel which was passed yesterday in Dáil Eireann. Joe Cunningham said: “The cross-party decision in the Dáil to declare that Israel’s settlement activity in the West Bank represents the unlawful ‘de facto’ annexation of Palestinian land is hugely significant and welcome. The motion acknowledges that Israel continues to be in violation of a fundamental principle of international law which prohibits the forced acquisition of territory. “SIPTU members and the wider public across Ireland who have been appalled at the recent and disproportionate military assault and atrocities in Gaza by Israel and the forced evictions in East Jerusalem will also be heartened that their elected representatives have moved to condemn this ongoing injustice against the people of Palestine. “We can no longer accept that the people of Gaza are forced to live in an open-air, and devastated prison and that those in the West Bank are subjected to the division and appropriation of their land by the ongoing construction of illegal settlements across the West Bank. Only a peaceful and just settlement that guarantees the rights of Palestinians to self determination can tackle the root causes of this decades long conflict. “We commend all of the political parties and others who supported the motion against annexation and, in particular, the role played by Senator Frances Black, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, John Brady, and the coalition of trade unions and NGO’s who worked so hard over several months to have it agreed and passed. “Our union will continue to support all efforts to halt the persecution of the people of Palestine by Israel and calls again for an end to its illegal and brutal occupation of their lands.”