The Dublin government has failed to condemn the latest massacre in Gaza despite Israel intensifying operations against the sealed-off Palestinian enclave, and has declined to even call in the Israeli ambassador.
On July 8, Israeli forces launched a massive campaign against Hamas in the West Bank that has so far killed 278 Palestinians and injured more than 2,000.
As a land, sea and air offensive sent terrified civilians running for cover this week, human rights organisations have condemned Ireland’s disinterested response.
During leaders’ Questions in the Dail, Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald accused the new coalition of an “entirely limp and lily-livered” response to the bloodshed.
“It’s not sufficient for government or any minister to simply issue a statement on this matter, there is actually an obligation to act,” she said. “It’s long past time that the Irish government said to the Israeli administration, ‘you cannot act with impunity’.”
However, the following day, the government rejected a motion to hold a special parliamentary debate on the crisis, instead backing a vote to begin the two-month summer recess.
A deeper conflict appears likely in Gaza after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered his military to prepare for a “significant broadening” of the ground assault. Residents have already endured another week of terror, with gun battles in the south and all-night shelling in the north.
A ground operation, which began in the Gaza periphery at around 10 p.m. on Thursday, sent thousands of people fleeing west to escape the fighting. A UN agency said the numbers of displaced had almost doubled overnight. Hospitals were overwhelmed by a flood of patients.
“The situation is very, very difficult,” said doctor Kamel Zaqzuq at Nasser hospital in Khan Yunis. “This is much, much more difficult than the last war,” he said. “At night, it’s one constant emergency.”
Gaza was also struggling with a 70 percent power outage after electricity lines from Israel were damage.
In less than one day, thirty-three people were killed across Gaza by Israeli fire, including three teenagers and a five-month-old baby. The UN has said hundreds of those killed have been innocent civilians, including 37 children.
On Wednesday afternoon, four children from the Bakr family became the latest child victims. Ahed Bakr, 10, Zakaria Bakr, 10, Mohd Bakr, 11, and Ismail Bakr, 9, died from multiple shrapnel wounds and burns. Multiple eye witnesses said the children were on the beach when the area was hit directly by shells.
“We think they came from an Israeli navy gunboat, but we don’t know why they would shell that area. There was nothing there, no rocket launchers, no Hamas, just some kids on the beach,” said Ahmed Jabril, who works at the Beach Hotel and witnessed the attack.
Dozens of journalists also witnessed the attack as it happened, since several hotels popular with the foreign press, including the Beach Hotel, Al Deira and Roots, were directly in front of the area where the children were killed.
Irish Nobel peace prize winner Mairead Corrigan Maguire has strongly criticised the western media’s bias in the reporting of the crisis. The international human rights activist accused the local and world media of not giving factual, fair and balanced reporting of the bombing of Palestinian civilians.
“Who can Palestinians turn to who will stand for their right not to be murdered by this racist/apartheid Israeli government?,” she asked.
“Western leaders and mainstream media have come up with disingenuous statements repeating Israeli disinformation and blaming the Palestinian victims. They continue to tell the Israeli narrative and are biased against Palestinians.
“It is time, if Palestinians and Israelis and indeed the Middle East are to be saved, that Israeli propaganda is shown for what it is - war propaganda”, she said.
The following is a list of protest events taking place today and this week across Ireland -- see ipsc.ie for further details.
Saturday 19 July - [Dublin] March & Rally - Stop Israel’s slaughter in Gaza! - 2pm, Assemble @ The Spire, O’Connell Street, Dublin 1
Saturday 19 July - [Dublin] Jewellers - Stop Financing Israeli War Crimes in Gaza - 12pm, Grafton Street, Dublin 2
Saturday 19 July - [Belfast] Rally: Stop the Slaughter in Gaza - Lift the Siege Now - 3pm, City Hall, Belfast
Saturday 19 July - [Cork] Demonstration in solidarity with Gaza - 2pm, Daunt Square, Cork City
Saturday 19 July - [Limerick] Solidarity Vigil with Gaza - 2pm, Thomas Street, Limerick
Saturday 19 July - [Sligo] Demonstration in Solidarity with Gaza and Palestine - 3pm, GPO, Sligo
Saturday 19 July - [Derry] Human chain across the Peace Bridge - 2pm, Peace Bridge, Derry
Saturday 19 July - [Lurgan] Emergency protest in support of the people of Gaza - 3pm, Market Street, Lurgan
Saturday 19 July - [Castlebar] Demonstration in solidarity with the people of Palestine - 4pm, Market Square, Castlebar
Saturday 19 July - [Ashbourne] Palestine solidarity protest - 1pm, Tesco, Ashbourne
Saturday 19 July - [Carlow] Free Gaza, Solidarity Event at the Liberty Tree - 11.30 Liberty Tree, Carlow
Saturday 19 July - [Cahir] Protest for Gaza - 1.30pm, The Square, Cahir
Saturday 19 July - [Ennis] Protest for Gaza - 2pm, O’Connell Square, Ennis
Sunday 20 July - [Belfast] Candlelit vigil for Gaza - 8pm, BBC Building, Ormeau Avenue, Belfast
Sunday 20 July - [Clones] On Ulster Final Day “Ulster Says No to the siege and assault on Gaza” - 1.30pm, Clones
Sunday 20 July - [Newtownbutler] White line protest for Gaza - 1.30pm, Newtownbutler
Monday 21 July - [Wexford] Rally in solidarity with Gaza - 7pm, Wexford Lockout Memorial Gates, The Faythe, Wexford
Monday 21 July - [Naas] Vigil for Gaza - 7pm, Nass Courthouse, Naas
Saturday 26 July - [Ennis] Vigil in Solidarity With Palestine - O’Connell Square (The Heights), Ennis