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Al Rashiyda bedouin camp EA human rights observer and child. cosi.costello via Flickr
Conflict

A Dublin councillor has travelled to the West Bank to work as a human rights observer

Patrick Costello is keeping an ongoing blog of his experiences called, ‘Canal Bank To West Bank’.

Updated 12:27

A DUBLIN CITY Councillor has travelled to the West Bank to act as human rights observer.

Patrick Costello, who was recently elected to Dublin City Council in Rathgar – Rathmines, has been in the occupied Palestinian territories since August and will leave in October.

The Green Party Councillor is travelling with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). It aims to support Palestinians and Israelis in non-violent actions and to advocate for an end to the occupation.

Costello told TheJournal.ie, “I am finding it challenging but rewarding at the same time. The most difficult part of the job is seeing the frustration of everyday life in the occupied territories.

Most rewarding has been witnessing the sense of community and resilience among the everyday Palestinian people in the face of occupation.

“The Palestinians describe this using an Arabic word ‘Sumud’, and remain a proud people who want to get on with life and live in peace with their neighbours.”

unnamed (25) Baby asleep inside the construction of a new house as the family's old one was demolished. cosi.costello cosi.costello

Human Rights

Ecumenical Accompaniers have been involved in maintaining logs at Israeli checkpoints, maintaining a protective international presence during house demolitions and harvests and accompanying children to school through army checkpoints.

The Dublin Councillor added that: “This conflict has seen the ongoing and regular abuse of human rights, and I hope that through bearing witness to these abuses I can contribute in some way to a fair and just peace in the area.

unnamed (27) A collection of tear gas and bomb shells that were used around the Al Khader School. cosi.costello cosi.costello

“I believe that we all have a responsibility to contribute to the upholding of international law and promoting of peace and justice…we all need to work towards peace and justice in what ever way we can through advocacy, through supporting groups working for peace and to support groups working to uphold international law.”

He’s keeping an ongoing blog of his experiences ‘Canal Bank To West Bank’ here.

Responsibilities 

Costello had arranged the placement before his election result and said that:

Given the worsening humanitarian crisis in occupied Palestine, I felt that it was important now more than ever to follow through on the arrangements instead of withdrawing.

He explained, “I will be leaving at the end of October, and will be back in time for the budget votes in Dublin City Council.

“I hope to find ways to build links between the communities so that we can better support a just and lasting peace for all sides in the conflict.”

Costello also confirmed that he will be performing his council duties without pay for the period he is away – adding that any salary he receives for his duration in Palestine will be refunded back to the Dublin City Council.

unnamed (26) Patrick (far left) and the AL Rashiyda Bedouin camp group with Hajj Ali cosi.costello cosi.costello

A spokesperson for the Green Party emphasised that Costello is not neglecting his duties as a councillor:

“Patrick will continue to serve his constituents from the West Bank, and remains available by email and phone to deal with queries and his constituent’s difficulties.

“He has also arranged for a representative to liaise for more urgent face-to-face matters that constituents may have during the period.”

Originally posted 7:30am.

Read: Sinn Féin MEPs barred from entering Gaza during trip to Palestine>

Read: “Settlements are illegal” – Ireland joins chorus of condemnation of Israeli land grab>

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