Fianna Fáil Senator Averil Power has called for the UN Security Council to set a clear deadline for Israel’s withdrawal from Palestine, backed up by sanctions for non-compliance.

Senator Power made the call during her address to a special UN conference on Palestine in New York.

“In the aftermath of its recent assault on Gaza, Israel has faced unprecedented criticism from the international community. However, this is clearly falling on deaf ears as the Israeli government is continuing with its plans to build more illegal settlements on Palestinian land. If there is to be any prospect of a two-state solution to the conflict, the international community must move beyond mere condemnation and take real action to force Israel to make peace”, she commented.

“The UN Security Council must set a clear deadline for Israel to abide by international law and end its illegal occupation of Palestine. This must be backed up by sanctions for non-compliance to ensure that Israel can’t ignore it as they have ignored dozens of earlier Security Council resolutions”, she said.

Power said that if the Security Council can’t get agreement on such an approach, regional organisations such as the European Union must step up and take action.

“As Israel’s largest trading partner, the EU has considerable economic leverage. Suspending Israel’s privileged access to the European market would have a major economic and political impact. It would also be in keeping with the human rights conditions in the EU-Israel Association Agreement which the Israeli government has continuously ignored. If Europe is serious in its criticism of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people and about their insistence on increasing Israeli settlements it will have to put its money where its mouth is and force Tel Aviv to change tack”, she concluded.