Brian Kerr launches ‘Gaza Kids to Ireland’

Gaza Action Ireland launched its Gaza Kids to Ireland project today in Dublin, with the support of Brian Kerr, former Irish national team manager,  who spoke very eloquently and passionately on the terrible and illegal obstacles apartheid Israel imposes on Palestinian football players both in Gaza and the West Bank. These include preventing the team from playing and training together, imprisoning players and coaches and have also seen players being shot, coupled with the bombing of the stadium in Gaza. In this light Kerr noted that the achievement of sports people in Palestine to continue to try to play and to compete successfully is remarkable. He also remembered the four children from the Bakr family who were murdered as they played football on the beach in Gaza this summer in Israel’s murderous assault which killed more than 2,200 people.

Press release from GAI below, article from the Journal here. ’7-year olds in Gaza have suffered three wars and yet they’re still trying to play football.’

Interview with Trevor Hogan on the Tubridy Show, from 49 mins. Irish Independent piece:  Gaza’s young footballers gear up for visit to Ireland

Many thanks to everyone who came along and have been helping out with this project, particularly to the chair and vice-chair of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Martin Quigley and Fatin Al Tamimi. Also to Peter Houlihan for the photos.

We will keep people notified on how to get involved with this project, meanwhile if you would like to donate, please see the Gaza Action Ireland website.

Follow us on twitter @GazaAI1

Free Palestine!

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Photo Peter Houlihan PH Photography

Brian Kerr launches ‘Gaza Kids to Ireland’

A TEAM of Palestinian children from the besieged Gaza strip will play football in Ireland next summer, thanks to an initiative launched today by former Irish manager and leading football pundit Brian Kerr.

Hundreds of children were killed and approximately 3,000 were injured in Israel’s summer onslaught on the territory.

“We’d love to do something to help all of Gaza’s kids to have a normal childhood,” Kerr said at the launch in Buswell’s Hotel, Dublin, today. “In the meantime we can show this small group of them our hospitality – and the special sort of solidarity that comes from competing on a football pitch.”

Under-14 members of the Al-Helal club, based in northern Gaza, will play against teams from Dublin, Tipperary, Limerick and Antrim during their visit next August.

The ‘Gaza Kids to Ireland’ trip will see the children make a daunting journey across Egypt’s Sinai Desert, because the simpler route through Israel is closed by the illegal siege, and because Gaza doesn’t have an airport. It is being organised by Gaza Action Ireland (GAI) and Antrim to Gaza, who need to raise thousands of euro to support the initiative.

Contributions can be made at www.gazaactionireland.ie.

“Most people in Ireland were sickened at the sight of what Gaza’s men, women and children suffered under Israeli bombardment in July and August,” ex-rugby international Trevor Hogan, one of the GAI organisers of the visit, said today. “But the maiming and murder of so many kids was especially heartbreaking.

“We’ve expressed our anger already, not only at last summer’s assault but at the ongoing siege of this small, densely populated territory,” Hogan added. “This trip offers us a different way to show our support for the children of Palestine.”

Al-Helal’s clubhouse was damaged in the Israeli assaults of 2012 and 2014. It stands close to the beach, but the sea there is usually too polluted with sewage for the children to play in it.

“Even in Ireland, playing football is often the main form of exercise and entertainment that is freely available to children,” Kerr, who is also a director of Sport Against Racism Ireland (SARI), said. “Imagine what it must mean to Gaza’s kids, who have just lived through the third major attack in less than six years on the territory where they live.”

GAI coordinator Zoë Lawlor said the organisers were delighted to have the support of many Irish sportspeople.

GKI6Photo Peter Houlihan PH Photography

GKI7Photo Fatin Al Tamimi

Event: Brian Kerr launches ‘Gaza Kids to Ireland’ football initiative

When: Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 11am

Where: Buswell’s Hotel, Molesworth Street, Dublin

 

A TEAM of Palestinian children will play football in Ireland next summer, thanks to an initiative to be launched next Wednesday by former Irish manager and leading football pundit Brian Kerr.

Ex-rugby international Trevor Hogan, one of the organisers of the visit, will also speak at the launch.

Under-14 members of the Al-Helal club, based in northern Gaza, will play against teams from Dublin, Tipperary, Limerick and Belfast during their visit next August.

The trip – which will see the children make a daunting journey across Egypt’s Sinai Desert, because the simpler route through Israel is closed by the siege – is being organised by Gaza Action Ireland and Antrim to Gaza, who need to raise thousands of euro to support the initiative.

Al-Helal’s clubhouse was damaged in the Israeli assaults of 2012 and 2014. With the nearby sea polluted by sewage, football is often the only exercise and entertainment available to Gaza’s children, who have just lived through the third major attack in less than six years on the territory where they live.

The organisers are pleased to have the support of many Irish sportspeople, including Kerr, who also serves as a director of SARI (Sport Against Racism Ireland).

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The children of Al Helal Football Club, Gaza.

Irish group’s cautious welcome for Gaza ceasefire – Gaza Action Ireland

Irish group’s cautious welcome for Gaza ceasefire

A CESSATION of the assault on Gaza is to be welcomed, but we must ensure it brings a just and lasting peace and an end to the siege of the Palestinian territory, Gaza Action Ireland (GAI) said today.

“The people of Gaza have been traumatised by seven weeks of constant bombardment, death and injury, displacement and wanton destruction of their homes and most of their infrastructure and on that basis we welcome any respite from Israel’s violence,” GAI coordinator Zoe Lawlor said.

“However, this is the third occasion in six years that Gaza has been subjected to sustained attack by Israel, with devastating results,” Lawlor added. “The damage to Gaza’s infrastructure is worse than that in 1967. According to military analysts, the explosive power of the bombs was equal to the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima.”

Lawlor continued: “We in Gaza Action Ireland mourn the barbaric loss of life, with over 2,100 Palestinians dead, around 500 of whom were children. The psychological trauma caused by the attack cannot be underestimated and the scars will stay with the living forever.”

Mags O’Brien, another GAI coordinator, said: “The full terms of the ceasefire are as yet unclear but seem to be little more than previous ceasefire agreements, which failed to address the root causes of the ongoing conflict, that of Israel’s stranglehold control over every aspect of life in the Gaza Strip and, more fundamentally, the future and the autonomy of an independent state of Palestine.

Gaza

“History is doomed to repeat itself unless these issues are finally addressed,” O’Brien said. “The world cannot close its eyes to the problem. Moreover, unless the blockade is finally and completely dismantled, the danger remains that there will be yet another murderous onslaught by Israel on this tiny stretch of overpopulated land and on a people that have suffered devastating trauma.”

O’Brien said she hoped the widespread Irish support for Gaza during this conflict would continue past the ceasefire: “The thousands upon thousands in Ireland who marched, protested and publicly called for an end to the devastation in Gaza, and for the expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador, must continue to support the call for a just solution to the conflict in Israel/Palestine.”

GAI strongly supports the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.  “Isolation is a powerful weapon, as was evidenced in South Africa,” Lawlor said. “We call on the Irish Government to ban all Israeli imports and to call within the EU for suspension of Israel’s privileged trading status on human-rights grounds. Israel must not be granted impunity for its war crimes against the Palestinian people and must be held accountable.

“We wish to send all our solidarity and respect to the people of Gaza whose resilience and resistance is incredible. The illegal Israeli siege of Gaza must be ended immediately and permanently,” Lawlor concluded.

 

 

Gaza Action Ireland, which grew out of the Irish Ship to Gaza initiative, is a solidarity group that organises civil-society contacts between Ireland and Palestinians in the Gaza strip. It is responsible for the Windows Into Gaza art exhibition that is currently touring Ireland, and it is planning to bring a team of young footballers from Gaza to play here. In addition to artists and sports clubs, it has also forged links with fishermen, journalists, human-rights activists and providers of emergency services.

Minister Flanagan criticised as protesters ‘besiege’ Israeli embassy in Dublin – Gaza Action Ireland

Thursday, August 21, from Gaza Action Ireland

Minister Flanagan criticised as protesters ‘besiege’ Israeli embassy in Dublin

More than 150 protesters gathered outside the Israeli embassy in Dublin between 1pm and 2pm today to demand that the Irish government take action against the Israeli state. The colourful vigil, organised by Gaza Action Ireland, took the form of a peaceful symbolic ‘siege’ of the embassy with protesters ringing the perimeter and calling for the immediate expulsion of the Israeli ambassador to Ireland.

Speaking to the crowd, ex-rugby international and Gaza Action Ireland (GAI) member Trevor Hogan forcefully criticised the inaction of Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan.

“In July 2011 Charlie Flanagan publicly demanded the expulsion of the Papal Nuncio following the horrific revelations in the Cloyne Report, but he seems unwilling to take action now against the Israeli ambassador despite the appalling atrocities carried out in Gaza. We have to ask why? UN schools and refugee centres have been attacked and hundreds of children killed. The blockade of Gaza is itself illegal under international law. If it was right to expel the Papal Nuncio in 2011, it is surely right to expel the Israeli ambassador now. Enough is enough. Ambassador Modai is an apologist and propagandist for war criminals”, he said.

For Minister Flanagan’s call to expel the Papal Nuncio, click here:

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Mr Hogan continued: “Minister Flanagan needs to be more robust in his interaction with the Israeli government because so far he has failed utterly to reflect the sentiment of most Irish people which is sheer horror at what is happening to Gaza. The Israeli government wants to enforce a slow death on the people of Gaza with its illegal siege, suffocating every aspect of life. The right to a seaport, to an airport, to an economy, to a livelihood, these are not negotiating issues – they are obligations that must be met. Israeli governments have grown used to committing crimes – they can no longer be allowed to act with such impunity. The Irish government must argue within the EU for strong sanctions against Israel.”

Mags O’Brien, national coordinator of GAI, speaking outside the embassy said: “The people of Gaza deserve our continued support and that’s why we are here today. Too many people have died and it has to stop now. If we don’t continue to highlight the fact that all Palestinians live under an apartheid system in the West Bank and under siege in Gaza, then Israel will continue to expand its illegal settlements and the collective punishment of the entire population of Gaza. The international community has to stand up to Israel and cry ‘halt’ to this madness.”

Others who spoke included Derek Graham, a long-time Irish resident of Gaza, and Chris Andrews, a Sinn Fein Dublin city councillor who has worked in Gaza.

 


Gaza Action Ireland, which grew out of the Irish Ship to Gaza initiative, is a solidarity group that organises civil-society contacts between Ireland and Palestinians in the Gaza strip. It is responsible for the Windows Into Gaza art exhibition that is currently touring Ireland, and it is planning to bring a team of young footballers from Gaza to play here. In addition to artists and sports clubs, it has also forged links with fishermen, journalists, human-rights activists and providers of emergency services.

Symbolic ‘Siege’ of Israeli Embassy, Vigil for Gaza

Notice from Gaza Action Ireland, for immediate release

Event: Symbolic ‘siege’ of Israeli embassy, vigil for Gaza

Time: Thursday, August 21, 2014, 1pm to 2pm

Location: Israeli embassy, 122 Pembroke Road, Dublin

A vigil, organised by Gaza Action Ireland (GAI), to call for the immediate expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and to remember those murdered in Gaza in recent weeks will be held at the Israeli embassy in Dublin this Thursday at lunchtime.

The most recent figures issued by the Health Ministry in Gaza indicate that the death toll from Israel’s assault over the past few weeks has risen to 2,016, including 541 children. Gaza Action Ireland believes that the EU and the Irish government must take action to isolate Israel in the wake of this massacre to ensure that it is never repeated. We are also calling for an immediate end to all aspects of the Israeli blockade.

The gathering on Thursday, called by Gaza Action Ireland (GAI), comes after ex-rugby international and GAI member Trevor Hogan passionately called on protesters at a recent national demonstration to symbolically besiege the embassy.

“Hundreds of children have been murdered in Gaza in the past few weeks and it cannot be business as usual with a government that behaves in this way. The Irish government would be sending a strong message to Israel that the blockade of Gaza is unacceptable if it took decisive action and expelled its ambassador to Dublin – the minister must act,” Hogan, who will attend the vigil, said today. He added: “Minister Flanagan has stated that he will only expel an ambassador in exceptional circumstances but the crippling blockade of Gaza and the massacre of thousands of civilians are surely exceptional circumstances. If they are not, what are?”

This hour-long symbolic siege will call for an end to the Israeli war on the civilians of Gaza and for a permanent lifting of the siege on that territory.

“Ambassador Modai and his team are spokespersons for war criminals,” GAI national coordinator Mags O’Brien said. “He should be told to pack his bags and leave Ireland. The blockade of Gaza is immoral and an illegal collective punishment that cannot be justified. We currently have a ceasefire and that is to be welcomed, but we cannot allow a stalemate to develop where the siege of Gaza continues as it was before. The blockade must be fully lifted and Palestinians in Gaza must be allowed access to the outside world – it must end now.”

The colourful vigil, which will be attended by members of the Palestinian community in Ireland, will assemble at 1pm outside the Israeli embassy at 122 Pembroke Road, Dublin.

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Gaza Action Ireland, which grew out of the Irish Ship to Gaza initiative, is a solidarity group that organises civil-society contacts between Ireland and Palestinians in the Gaza strip. It is responsible for the Windows Into Gaza art exhibition that is currently touring Ireland, and it is planning to bring a team of young footballers from Gaza to play here. In addition to artists and sports clubs, it has also forged links with fishermen, journalists, human-rights activists and providers of emergency services.

Hundreds ‘Besiege’ Israeli Embassy in Dublin – Gaza Action Ireland

Hundreds ‘besiege’ Israeli embassy in Dublin

Up to 300 protesters formed a symbolic siege around Dublin’s Israeli embassy today, calling for the immediate expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and remembering those murdered in Gaza in recent weeks.

“This embassy has been the source of a string of shameful lies,” Gaza Action Ireland (GAI) member and ex-rugby international Trevor Hogan told the crowd. “Lies about Palestine, lies about the siege of Gaza, and lies about Irish activists.

“While Israel maintains its violent, murderous siege on Gaza, we should keep coming back for peaceful, symbolic ones here, until the ambassador is told to pack his bags and leave Ireland,” Hogan added.

This hour-long event, organised by GAI, saw protesters spread out around the perimeter of the south Dublin office block that houses the embassy. Fatin Al-Tamimi, who has many relatives suffering under the siege and assault in Gaza, walked along the line reading the names of the dead.

“Ambassador Modai and his team are apologists and spokespersons for war criminals, for a regime that in the past five weeks has murdered nearly 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza including hundreds of children,” GAI coordinator Mags O’Brien said.

The colourful vigil also included readings of poetry from Gaza and was addressed by People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett.

EmbPhoto Greg Manahan

Video of the Event, including interview with Trevor Hogan, GAI

 

Gaza Action Ireland, which grew out of the Irish Ship to Gaza initiative, is a solidarity group that organises civil-society contacts between Ireland and Palestinians in the Gaza strip. It is responsible for the Windows Into Gaza art exhibition that is currently touring Ireland, and it is planning to bring a team of young footballers from Gaza to play here. In addition to artists and sports clubs, it has also forged links with fishermen, journalists, human-rights activists and providers of emergency services.

Symbolic ‘siege’ of Israeli embassy, vigil for Gaza

Notice from Gaza Action Ireland – Event: Symbolic ‘siege’ of Israeli embassy, vigil for Gaza

Time: Wednesday, August 13, 2014, 1pm to 2pm

Location: Israeli embassy, 122 Pembroke Road, Dublin

A vigil to call for the immediate expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and to remember those murdered in Gaza in recent weeks will be held at the Israeli embassy in Dublin on Wednesday at lunchtime.

The gathering, called by Gaza Action Ireland (GAI), comes after ex-rugby international and GAI member Trevor Hogan passionately called on protesters at a national demonstration last Saturday to symbolically besiege the embassy.

“We should not allow diplomatic status to be accorded to the representatives of a terror state,” Hogan, who will attend the vigil, said today.

This hour-long symbolic siege will call for an end to the Israeli war on the civilians of Gaza and for a lifting of the siege on that territory.

“Ambassador Modai and his team are apologists and spokespersons for war criminals, for a regime that in the past month has murdered nearly 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza including hundreds of children,” GAI coordinator Mags O’Brien said.

“They have Gaza under siege – let us put them under siege until the Israeli ambassador is told to pack his bags and leave Ireland,” Hogan added.

The colourful vigil, which will include readings of poetry from Gaza and silent remembering of the dead, will assemble at 1pm outside the Israeli embassy at 122 Pembroke Road, Dublin.

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Gaza Action Ireland, which grew out of the Irish Ship to Gaza initiative, is a solidarity group that organises civil-society contacts between Ireland and Palestinians in the Gaza strip. It is responsible for the Windows Into Gaza art exhibition that is currently touring Ireland, and it is planning to bring a team of young footballers from Gaza to play here. In addition to artists and sports clubs, it has also forged links with fishermen, journalists, human-rights activists and providers of emergency services.

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