Gaza Kids to Ireland 2017 Events and Fundraising

The Gaza Kids to Ireland are coming back!

As the trip last year was such an uplifting, joyous experience, we are doing it all again this summer! At the end of July, the kids from Al Helal Academy are coming to Ireland to play football and meet you!

The children will play against teams from Dublin, Leitrim, Kinvara, Limerick and Cork during their visit and will participate in family events. We want to show them some hospitality while they’re here so we hope you’ll come out to our events and support them.

You can read about last year here:Gaza Kids to Ireland – It Happened

If you want to give some money to the project, please do so here:  Donate!

July 20th

Limerick, Upstairs at Dolans – An Evening of Palestinian Music and Culture in Aid of the Gaza Kids to Ireland 8pm

July 20th

Gaza Kids Al Helal FC to Ballybrack FC! Fundraising gig July 20th 7.30pm Purty Kitchen, Dún Laoghaire

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July 23rd

Night at the Musicals in aid of Gaza Kids to Ireland 23rd July 8pm Civic Theatre, Tallaght. An evening of song and laughter featuring the songs of hit Broadway musicals such as Les Mis, Wicked, Rent, and more, performed by professionally trained singers. Tickets available here

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July 27th

Gaza Kids to Manorhamilton Table Quiz Thurs 27 July 8pm Gurn’s Bar, Manorhamilton, Leitrim. 

July 31st

Palestine Comes to Kinvara! Tully’s Bar 8.30 pm

Music, dance and spoken word with renowned Palestinian percussionist Raed Said and Irish musicians.

 

The kids have been invited to the Shamrock Rovers V Derry game on 4th August, this is the Gaza Kids to Tallaght page, they are doing great work!

Facebook   Gaza Action Ireland
Twitter @GazaAI1

Email: infogazaactionireland@gmail.com

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Gaza Kids to Ireland – Media

RTE – Ballybrack Match Report 

Irish Times – Children’s Football Team from Palestine Arrive for Match

Gaza Kids to Ireland – Sandymount Beach

Clare FM from 31.45 – Interview 

Clare FM article

Newstalk  Interview-  About ¼ way through

Newstalk article – The Kids are their Window to the World Outside

Newstalk – Watch Gaza Kids Leave Ireland

Electronic Intifada – Gaza Football Club Dazzles Ireland

The Soccer Show – Al Helal Gaza Academy V Kinvara United

Lmerick Post – Gaza Brings Fancy Footwork to Limerick

Wexford Welcome for Palestinian Youths

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Limerick Live – Limerick Hosts U 14 soccer Team from Gaza

Palestine Monitor – Gaza Children Return After a 10-day Football Trip in Ireland

Broadsheet – Meanwhile in Nenagh

Galway Bay FM – Gaza Children Visit Kinvara

PNN – Israel Didn’t Break Spirit of Gaza Kids to Ireland

Irish America – Gaza Kids to Ireland Scheme a Success

Ireland Today – Kids Football Team from Gaza Enjoy a Historic Trip to Ireland

Tipperary Star- Nenagh Opens its Doors to U14 Gaza Soccer Team

FM 104 – Gaza Kids Play Football on Southside

Zazafl: Gaza Kids to Ireland – It Happened

The Shebab from Al Helal

Gaza Kids to Ireland – It Happened!

A wrap-up statement on the kids’ visit for all of you who have done so much over the last two weeks, and before that!
This stage of the Gaza Kids to Ireland project has drawn to a close with the group’s safe arrival home – to a rapturous reception in Gaza that underlines the importance of their journey.
The initiative, long in the making and supported financially and logistically by many groups and individuals, has been a real success, full of fun and football. The warmth and solidarity shown to our visitors by thousands of people all over Ireland has been overwhelming: they met a huge welcome wherever they went. Indeed, we could have brought them to every county in Ireland, such was the interest in and enthusiasm for their visit.
Bringing the group from Al Helal football academy was always going to be complicated, but it became really onerous due to obstacles Israel put in our path.
Initially a group of 22 travellers was due to arrive in Ireland for a 12-day visit on July 13th, flying from Amman, Jordan, via Istanbul; but their permits to leave the besieged Gaza strip weren’t granted by Israel, necessitating the postponement of the programme. When the permits were finally granted in late July, we had to try to reschedule everything very late, for a shorter visit – July 29th to August 8th.
Worse than the delay was the cruel refusal to issue permits to the entire group. One child from the group of 15 players, 13-year-old Karam Zidan, was prevented from travelling to Ireland, as were five of the seven adults due to travel: two coaches, a journalist, an administrator and the only woman, a specialist in children’s mental health.
Apart from the sad blow this represented for us and them, having just two adults with 14 children who had never before left Gaza, and who spoke very little English, made things very tough. If Israeli authorities intended to cause maximum disruption to the project by this decision, they very nearly succeeded. However, the travellers and those left behind decided the trip should go ahead; and due to the brilliance, kindness and boundless energy of Al Helal chairman Ayed Abu Ramadan and coach Moammed Alrawagh, alongside the voluntary efforts of many people in Ireland, the kids had constant support. We were also very lucky that Azeez Yusuff from Sport Against Racism Ireland (SARI) joined us for the duration of the trip, as a coach, mentor and friend.
Those prevented from travelling were never far from our thoughts, especially Karam. He was wounded in the 2009 attack on Gaza, so it seems likely the apartheid state didn’t want people in Ireland to hear about his injuries. Left behind, however, he was an even more vivid reminder of what was done to him, and what is done to thousands of other Palestinian children, by Israel. “We are all Karam” was a constant refrain.
The kids from Al Helal football academy played games against Ballybrack FC, Kinvara United, Nenagh AFC, Nenagh Celtic and Pike Rovers (and beat them all!). They were also guests of Galway United for their league win over Dundalk – that night, the boys were the guard of honour, played on the pitch at half-time and met the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins!
The Palestinian Community in Ireland and the Palestinian diplomatic mission here, including Ambassador Ahmad Abdelrazek, were enthusiastic supporters throughout the visit. SARI and Shamrock Rovers helped create a great evening of beach football on Dublin’s Sandymount Strand. Existing organisations such as Nenagh Friends of Palestine, who hosted the children for half their visit, and the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, in Limerick and elsewhere, were vital to the project; more ad-hoc groups in Ballybrack, Kinvara, Wexford and Sandymount worked quickly and tirelessly to organise events. There weren’t enough mealtimes to visit all the restaurants that offered to feed the children!
Gaza Action Ireland hopes to continue working with Al-Helal and with football in Gaza, including supporting the development of the game for girls in the territory. We hope more visits, in both directions, will become possible.
This grassroots project couldn’t have happened without widespread support for fundraising, organising and hosting. It’s been absolutely brilliant. We couldn’t possibly name them all, but we thank everyone who played, donated, fundraised, fed, and lavished the children with gifts, hospitality and love.

Photos Felim Egan

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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.

DONATE HERE

http://gazaactionireland.weebly.com/donate.html

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.

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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.

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“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.