A petition for the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland to be expelled has received almost 30,000 signatures.
The organisers say expelling Boaz Modai would send out a clear diplomatic message, but the 26-County Foreign Affairs minister Charlie Flanagan has said he has no plans to do so. He met with Modai last week, with the minister saying that the Dublin government had “consistently urged both sides to exercise maximum restraint”.
More than 1200 innocent Gazans have been killed and more than 5000 injured in the latest bout of the conflict.
A planned three-day humanitarian ceasefire collapsed on Friday after only a few hours, when Israel levelled much of the civilian residential area of Rafah, killing over 100. It was its third large-scale massacre since its operation “Protective Edge” began on July 8th. Israel blamed the decision to end the ceasefire on reports one of its soldiers was taken prisoner by Gazan militants.
On Thursday, Minister Flanagan faced renewed calls for action in the Seanad, which had been recalled last week for a special debate on the situation. He said expelling the ambassador would only mean more difficulties for Ireland. “The corollary of course would be the recall or expulsion of our own ambassador in Israel and the crippling of our own embassy in Tel Aviv,” he said.
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams TD has given his support to the campaign to expel the ambassador.
“The Irish government needs to take a clear stand in support of the civilian population of Gaza and send a clear message to the Israeli government that its actions will not be tolerated,” he said. “This can best be achieved by expelling the Israeli Ambassador.”
The Taoiseach’s continued refusal to recall the Dail to discuss events in the Middle East also made no sense in light of Thursday’s reconvening of the Seanad, he added.
“Much of the Gaza strip has been reduced to rubble and almost half of this besieged region is now under the control of the Israeli military.
“I want to support the Palestinian call for Gaza to be declared an international disaster area and to appeal to the Irish government and the EU to support this humanitarian call.
“I am deeply disappointed with the Irish government’s response to the worsening crisis in Gaza. Their policy, as outlined by the Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan in his address to the Seanad on Thursday, represents a dangerous erosion of the independence of the Irish state’s foreign policy.”
He said the government’s decision to support the EU position of abstaining on the resolution at the UN Human Rights Council, which called for an International Commission of Investigation, was “clear evidence” that the government’s foreign policy is being dictated from Brussels rather than Dublin.
“This stance adopted has done untold damage to the state’s proud record of a progressive, independent policy on international affairs and its history of standing up for the colonised and the oppressed.”
The following is the text of the petition:
“There is an overwhelming response of empathy and support from the Irish people towards the Palestinian populations of both Gaza and the West Bank, and against Israel’s policy of Collective Punishment of the Palestinian population, not to mention its decades long occupation of the West Bank and siege of Gaza.
“We call on An Taoiseach Enda Kenny to act now in a way to send a clear Diplomatic message to the State of Israel that these actions are not acceptable under International Law, and that the Irish State will not tolerate them.
“We call on you to expel the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland and to recall our own Ambassador to Israel, effective immediately.”
It can be signed here