Medics lament Irish abstention on Gaza
DOCTORS, paramedics, nurses and other medical personnel have called for the Irish Government to take a firm stand against Israeli attacks on medical workers, hospitals and ambulances in Gaza.
The protesters, many dressed in scrubs and other clothes of their professions, gathered outside Dáil Eireann with a large crowd of other supporters today [[THURS]] at lunchtime. Some speakers expressed disappointment at Ireland’s abstention in the UN Human Rights Council vote on investigating Israeli war crimes.
During the latest onslaught, thus far one doctor and two paramedics have been killed, more than 30 first-responders wounded and two hospitals bombed. A Red Crescent emergency-services unit and numerous clinics and ambulances have been shelled or damaged.
“In my professional opinion, the ongoing attacks on medics in Gaza clearly constitute a war crime that cannot be justified and warrant immediate referral to the ICC,” Prof Damian McCormack, a surgeon at the Mater hospital, said. “I call on our government to demand an apology from the Israeli ambassador or to expel him.
“Further I call on all medical bodies and colleagues in Ireland to publicly condemn these attacks and not to repeat their shameful silence over attacks on medical personnel in Bahrain in 2011,” McCormack said.
The protest was called by Gaza Action Ireland (GAI) and supported by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Sadaka.
“It’s an absolute shame and disgrace that Ireland abstained yesterday on a mere call for an investigation into possible war crimes,” GAI coordinator Mags O’Brien said.
“We know that attacks on medical staff and infrastructure are established Israeli practice,” O’Brien continued. “During ‘Operation Cast Lead in 2008/2009, 16 paramedics were killed and numerous other emergency responders seriously wounded. Targeted and random shelling and aerial bombardments also saw the partial or total destruction of many healthcare facilities and ambulances.”
The event also included a speech by Dr Bassam Naser, a Palestinian doctor who works in Ireland, and a phone call from paramedics in Gaza.
Last night [[WED]], dozens of Palestinians based in Ireland were joined by hundreds of other people for a poignant ‘die-in’, first outside the Department of Foreign Affairs, then in Grafton Street, where they lay on the ground while the names of the Gaza dead were read aloud. That event was also called by Gaza Action Ireland.
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.