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The War At Home – Ireland’s Relationship With Israel

 

Ireland Abstained from a UN vote on Gaza (image: thejournal.ie)

Ireland Abstained from a UN vote on Gaza (image: thejournal.ie)

Ireland’s decision to abstain from a vote into the investigation of Israeli war crimes in Gaza yesterday at the United Nations Human Rights Council has caused uproar amongst the Irish people.

The news was met with utter disgust by a large percentage of Irish citizens, who feel misrepresented by members of our government. Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams also showed his disdain by accusing the government of “political cowardice”, while Fianna Fáil Senator Averil Power announced she is “shocked and disgusted with the Irish government’s decision not to support an international inquiry into Israel’s actions in Gaza.”

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan defended the decision to abstain from the vote on the grounds that Ireland wanted swifter action using mechanisms that were already in existence, and Ireland’s ambassador to the UN Patricia O’Brien explained that commission of the inquiry is the establishment of a new mechanism which would take time to set up, claiming this as “a very valid reason not to support the resolution.”

The Irish people have always been vocal and politically active on the situation in Gaza and our ‘Pro-Palestinian stance’ has come under the scrutiny of The Times of Israel newspaper this week after a minute’s silence was held in the Dáil for the people of Gaza. The piece states “some Irish politicians are becoming increasingly strident in their anti-Israel rhetoric and actions.”

An Irish4Israel spokesperson was quoted in the article, saying “The Palestinian flag in the parliament was a disgrace. No other flag than the Irish flag should be flown in the Irish parliament.” People Before Profit councillor Hugh Lewis was lambasted by the newspaper after removing the Israeli flag from Dun Laoghaire harbour last week during a European sailing event, where forty-four were flying, and seven Israeli children taking part.

This is not the first time Ireland has been in hot water over our relations with Israel. In 2011, Ireland was branded as the “most hostile country in Europe” by unnamed sources of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and that “the Irish government is feeding its people with anti-Israel hatred”, while in 2006 Ireland prevented the US from transporting arms to Israel through Shannon Airport.

Over the years Ireland have held protests and raised funds in support of the victims of Gaza, most prominent of all being the Two Cities-One Concert: Dublin to Gaza benefit event which was held in the Tripod music venue in Dublin in 2009 and broadcast live to Gaza City, all proceeds going to the reconstructing of building damaged on the Gaza Strip.

Ireland continue to show their support to Gaza, having held a ‘die-in’ demonstration yesterday evening in Dublin, which saw a large crowd of people lie down ‘dead’ while holding pages bearing the names of the dead in Gaza, in front of the Department of Foreign Affairs and then again at the top of Grafton Street, with an estimated 300 people in attendance.

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