An official visit to Israel by the 26 County Tanaiste Micheal Martin at a time when it is conducting a genocide of the Palestinian people has been received with anger and disbelief in Ireland.
Amid the ongoing annihilation of the Gaza Strip, Martin, who is also the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, took part in propaganda videos and after previously being received by Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Strip is estimated to have already claimed the lives of over 14,000 innocent civilians, including 6,000 children. It has left apocalyptic scenes of destruction across an area from which over 1.7 million people have now been displaced.
But in a shocking image, Martin incongruously pointed at a hole in a ceiling of an Israeli settler in the town of Sderot, just miles away.
In other images, he is seen strolling through lands stolen from Palestinians examining relatively minor conflict damage as Israeli officials are seen smirking in the background. In one video, he is seen being urged by the same officials to allow Israel to “finish the job”.
In his defence, Martin parroted the Israeli focus on a Palestinian resistance effort which took place on October 7, claiming there had been “disinformation” about Israel and made no effort to push for an end to the slaughter.
And he caused further outrage on social media by ignoring the near daily Israeli atrocities of recent years, its inhuman system of apartheid, the 16-year blockade of the Gaza ghetto and the horrific ongoing genocide now taking place there, the most devastating in Europe since World War Two.
It left him more at odds with international human rights and the public mood since another former Fianna Fail leader, Eamon de Valera, offered Irish condolences on the death of Adolf Hitler.
After a mass grave was dug at the entrance of Al-Shifa hospital to bury more than a hundred civilians killed in the ongoing Israeli assault, UN chief of Emergency Relief, Martin Griffiths spoke out.
He said the situation in Gaza, an area of just 140 square miles which was home to 2.3 million people, may be “the worst ever”. He noted that 68% of the people killed in Gaza are women and children.
“They stopped counting the number of children killed... Nobody knows what their future is. Hospitals have become places of war... I don’t think I have seen anything like this before,” he said.
In the Dáil on Wednesday, People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy described Martin’s visit to Israel as “a disgrace”. He said that it was “absolutely shameful” for the Taoiseach to be participating in such a propaganda tour while the assault on Gaza is ongoing.
His colleague Richard Boyd Barrett said Ireland’s “shameful failure” over Gaza had resulted in “blood on our hands”. He said the Convention on Genocide obliges all 153 signatories - including the Dublin government - to use “all reasonable means available to them”.
“I would say we have blood on our hands for our shameful failure,” he sad.
Martin refused to say s why he had not visited the Gaza Strip itself, but doubled down on his rejection of what he described as “simplistic vitriol”. He claimed his efforts had improved the chances that Israel would allow Irish citizens to escape from the enclave.
The position of the Dublin government is in contrast to the increasing number of unaligned nations, such as the South African government, who are severing diplomatic links with Israel.
It has refused to accept that Israel carries any blame for the ongoing slaughter, notably refusing to accept an amendment on Wednesday night which sought to criticise both Hamas and Israel for their respective roles in the conflict.
Martin had earlier condemned Sinn Féin for “jumping on the political bandwagon” in calling for the expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador. He claimed they were “pulled” by the far-left and had ignored “the seriousness of the situation in terms of so many lives depending on it.”
The Tánaiste said if Sinn Féin is “going to be pulled by the nose every time there’s an issue” and change their approach when people “start raising various issues, campaigning and getting people on the streets” then “it doesn’t make them a very reliable partner for government for anybody.”
Last weekend, tens of thousands again marched in towns and cities across Ireland urging action and intervention to stop the slaughter.
At an Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) press conference, Martin’s approach was condemned by an Irish-Palestinian man who has lost 44 members of his extended family due to the attacks of the Israeli forces.
Ahmed Alagha said the situation in Gaza is basically “a bloodbath”.
“They estimate 2-3,000 people are still in the rubble, dying a slow painful death – many of them children, many of them women, many of them elderly,” he said. “It is a never-ending situation.”
Mr Alagha said a lack of clean drinking water is creating a humanitarian disaster.
“75% of the buildings now have either been totally destroyed or partially destroyed. Nowhere’s really liveable, most people are in tents. All of the worst nightmares you can think of are there.
“There’s dogs eating bodies on the streets now because they don’t have the time to bury them because there’s too many being killed and if they buried them, they might be shot by the IDF.”
He added: “I think it has come to a situation where people are just waiting to die because they see no hope, they see no end of the line.
“They have no faith anymore on the outside world to save them. It’s beyond a humanitarian crisis at this stage, it’s a clear genocide and the world is watching. You just wonder why world leaders aren’t taking further action.”