9 July 2014
from Gaza Action Ireland for immediate release
ISRAEL’S attacks on Gaza must stop, and international pressure must be put on both the Israeli and Egyptian governments to lift the siege on the Palestinian territory, a group of Irish-based activists said today.
Gaza Action Ireland (GAI), which has close links with human-rights campaigners inside Gaza, said there could be no justification for the bombing that has killed more than 30 people in the territory in the last few days.
Eight children are reported dead, including six killed by a single attack on the home of the Kaware family in the southern-Gaza city of Khan Younis.
“Journalists and others need to understand that when they call these savage bombings an ‘Israeli response’ to Hamas rockets, or suggest some equivalence between the suffering of the two sides, they are playing into the PR strategy of the aggressor, the occupying power, the Israeli state,” Zoe Lawlor, a spokesperson for GAI, said.
Ms Lawlor said the current wave of attacks was started by Israel. “It’s simply another example of Israel carrying out collective punishment of the people of Gaza, contrary to all morality and international law,” she said. “On this occasion, the pretext was the deplorable murder of three young Israelis — but Israel has produced no evidence that Hamas was responsible, and indeed embarked on weeks of arrests, home raids and demolitions throughout the West Bank, again described by Amnesty International as collective punishment.”
GAI’s Mags O’Brien, a trade-union activist with contacts among emergency-service workers in Gaza, said hospitals there were already stretched beyond their capacity. “Gaza suffers from a shortage of medicine and supplies, because of Israeli restrictions and the Egyptian government’s closure of the tunnels that have been such a vital supply line,” Ms O’Brien said. “They’re struggling to cope with the casualties of this latest assault.”
Ms Lawlor, Ms O’Brien and other GAI members visited Gaza last year, not long after Israel’s ‘Operation Pillar of Cloud’ killed more than 150 people.
Ms Lawlor said: “We need Irish politicians, and others, to stand with the people of Palestine. This latest attack is just an escalation of the state of terror that is Israel’s standard operating procedure against the besieged people of Gaza. We also need civil society to support the Palestinian call for BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) on Israel.”
Solidarity with Palestine events this weekend Dublin Limerick Cork
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.