Outcry forces Irish politicians to toughen stance on Israel


Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald said this week that the position of the Israeli ambassador in Dublin is now “untenable” ahead of a poll which showed Irish voters overwhelmingly in support of action to end the genocide in Gaza.

All of the major parties in Ireland have adopted a stronger position after initially accepting the Israeli line about having a “right to defend itself”.

Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar has admitted that some of Israel’s actions in Gaza are “approaching revenge”, while Fianna Fáil leader and Tánaiste Micheal Martin admitted for the first time that Israel’s actions could amount to “war crimes”.

There have been huge turnouts in Ireland and around the world amid apocalyptic scenes of mass murder and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by the Israeli state in the Gaza Strip.

Over 10,000 civilians have now been murdered in the destruction of the Mediterranean enclave, including 4,000 children. So far there has been no intervention by the international community, with major powers such as Britain, Germany and the US still refusing to call for a ceasefire.

Deprived of water, food, and electricity, and subjected to aerial bombardment and a full ground invasion by tanks and heavy artillery, thousands of Gaza residents have begun what is being seen as a second Nakba (catastrophe). A tragic procession of the dispossessed is taking place along what are termed “humanitarian corridors” for ethnic cleansing.

In the past month, a population of over 1.5 million have been displaced from their homes. Twenty hospitals and 90 other health centres have been bombed, 1500 schools and over 50 places of worship have been attacked. Thousands of bodies are buried in rubble.

Journalists continue to be deliberately targeted by Israeli Defence Forces, with 37 killed at their homes or at their places of refuge. More UN workers have been murdered than in any comparable period in the UN’s history, with 89 killed by Israeli forces so far.

Condemnations from Ireland has raised its profile within Israel, with one Minister, Amichai Eliyahu, calling for Gaza residents to “go to Ireland or the desert”. The same Minister, maddened by hate, also suggested a nuclear strike on Gaza as “one possibility” for resolving the conflict.

There was disbelief when the Israeli ambassador to Ireland was pictured attending the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis (annual conference) at the weekend, as tens of thousand backed calls across the country for her expulsion.

Ahead of its own Ard Fheis this weekend, Sinn Féin ceded to pressure for it to join other parties on the left in calling for the expulsion of the ambassador. Party leader Mary Lou McDonald said her position is “now untenable”.

But her leadership is likely to come under pressure for undermining the party’s anti-imperialist image, hugely popular with younger voters, in an apparent bid to remain close to the policies of potential future coalition partners.

A recent poll showed the party has leaked support to the smaller parties of the left, who have been more forthright in blaming Israel for the devastation of Gaza.

Further protests are due to be held in cities across Ireland this weekend, incliding a candlelit vigil at British government offices in Belfast on Friday evening, and marches and rallies in the centres of Dublin, Cork and Limerick, and in towns including Naas, Cobh, Skibbereen, Portadown, Ennis, Ballinasloe, Buncrana and Ballina.

Direct action events are set to continue following the occupation of the Department of Transport Offices in Dublin over the use of Shannon Airport as a staging post for Israel weaponry, and the Clarence Hotel in Dublin, in which Israeli bank Leumi is involved.

A huge protest is also expected in London on Saturday despite a bizarre attempt by the British government to suppress the demo.

British Home Office Minister Suella Braverman, who has described the peace protest as a “hate march”, made fresh headlines on Wednesday by bafflingly comparing the march to the North of Ireland. She appeared to suggest a link to the Orange Order and/or a loyalist show of strength.

She said the march was “an assertion of primacy by certain groups... of the kind we are more used to seeing in Northern Ireland”.

“Also, disturbingly reminiscent of Ulster are the reports that some of Saturday’s march group organisers have links to terrorist groups, including Hamas.”

This led one unnamed former Tory cabinet minister to disown Braverman saying: “This is wholly offensive and ignorant of where people in Northern Ireland stand on the issues of Israel and Gaza.”

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