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

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The Shebab from Al Helal

They came, they saw, they conquered – every match and every heart. The boys, coach and chairman of Al Helal Football Academy, Gaza City finally made it to Ireland, and it was beautiful.

The Gaza Kids to Ireland project has been years in the making and has been majorly stalled a few times, not least after apartheid Israel’s vicious attack on Gaza in 2014 where more than 2,200 Palestinians, including 556 children, were murdered. We launched officially with Brian Kerr in late 2014 but it was only early this year that things started moving. The logistics of trying to get out of Gaza are very complicated. The group needed Irish visas, permits for Jordan and most problematical – permits to leave Gaza, these granted or not by Israel. Palestinians are the only people who need permission to leave their country. One of the major hasbara tropes trotted out by Israel is that it pulled out of Gaza and no longer occupies it, rubbish – Israel controls most aspects of life for the Palestinians in Gaza, and it controls whether they can leave or enter the Strip.

Freedom of movement is a fundamental right and those of us lucky and privileged enough to have it should recognise its importance and fight for everyone to have it. From seeing the terrible difficulties Palestinian friends experience and spending time with people on the move through Fortress Europe, I’ve never been more aware of how crucial this is to our shared humanity.

This was definitely the case for this project, the visa/permits processes took months. We had huge difficulties regarding permits – the group was initially to be in Ireland on the 13th July but their permits weren’t granted so we had to reschedule the entire programme. Eventually the permits were granted but one player from the 15 – Karam Zedan (who had been injured in 2009) – wasn’t given a permit and neither were 5 of the adults due to travel, including the only woman. The utter cruelty of Israel denying one child from 15 the opportunity to travel to Ireland bears further consideration, it really is unspeakable. Imagine how a 13 year old boy must have felt seeing his friends and teammates going on a big adventure that they had all been preparing for together for months. To stop just one child from the whole group is purely sadistic. Of course, in the massive catalogue of Israel’s crimes against Palestinian children, this is at the lower end of their scale of violence, but it’s still brutal and needless and rotten. Karam was injured by the 2009 Israeli attack on Gaza and it’s likely they didn’t want him as living evidence of their war crimes. However, despite not being in Ireland,  Karam was in everyone’s thoughts throughout the trip and the children remembered him, making videos singing “We are all Karam” everywhere they went, he was always with us. But he should have been with us in person as well as in spirit. Another cruelty inflicted on a Palestinian child by the apartheid state. Why do they do it? Because they can.

Israel also prevented five adults from travelling with the group, the only woman, Hadeel, a specialist in children’s mental health, two coaches Mohammed and Eyad, a journalist Mohanad, and administrator Salah.  Not allowing these adults to travel is again cruel and needless, it’s an assertion of control and power. Imagine how they must have felt, having Israel’s absolute control reasserted so cruelly. It’s beyond my imagination because of privilege, and I want it to be beyond everyone’s, because of  justice.

Preventing them from travelling was also designed to cause maximum disruption to the trip. The journey from the Erez crossing to Amman airport in Jordan is long, difficult and full of checkpoints. That journey for only two adults with fourteen children is extremely tough and it is testimony to Ayed and Mohammed that they made it and indeed undertook the whole trip for the sake of the kids. I can’t say enough about these two men, they are fantastic. The Israelis were strategic, they allowed only one coach, one English speaker and no woman, with a group of boys who had never left Gaza before. But despite these obstacles, they coped, they thrived and they were brilliant.

And they arrived! Right up to the minute I heard they had boarded the plane,  I couldn’t believe it would happen. It happened. And they arrived, 14 really cute children with big brown eyes and bigger smiles wearing hot pink jerseys came to Ireland for an unforgettable ten days.

The kids played football, they danced, they sang, they were on the telly, they walked down Grafton St like celebs, walked the beach in Bray, went to the funfair, to SeaWorld, they dazzled with their feet in Dublin, Galway, Tipperary and Limerick. They went to parks and castles, went swimming and horseriding, they played hurling and rugby, went on boats and unicycles. They went mental in the shopping centre in Limerick.  They did the guard of honour for Galway United versus Dundalk, played at half time to the delight and cheers of the Palestinian flag waving GUFC ultras. Oh, and they met the President of Ireland there.

They played football against Ballybrack FC, Kinvara United, Nenagh AFC, Nenagh Celtic and Pike Rovers. They played on pitches, beaches and in parks. A highlight was their game in Ballybrack where the Palestinian community came out in numbers and reacted as if they had won the World Cup, it was raucous! 

They won every game, they played beautiful football, they dazzled.  Everyone remarked on their skill, their footwork, speed, their ability to keep hold of the ball. They are really good players. While their size compared to their Irish counterparts was a concern – and the siege of Gaza causes nutritional issues for the children there – their skill made up for it and they beat all comers!

They are fun and funny, kind, talented boys and it was a real privilege to spend time with them. Everyone who met the kids was delighted by them, they really lifted people’s hearts, the amount of love around the trip was special. Because there were only two adults let travel, I stayed with the group every night and this really allowed me to get to know them and enjoy their company, I loved it. The kids’  energy and enthusiasm is infectious. The evenings were spent moving mattresses around so they could camp in together (a nightly slumber party!), waving hello to their parents and family on the phone, begging them to go to sleep and helping them to pack! My greatest achievement of the trip is being the butt of two running jokes, in English AND Arabic. These kids know how to slag. I loved their camaraderie, how they looked after each other, especially if anyone was a little homesick, how they respected their ‘captains’ and how they interacted with everyone here. They really are great kids, brilliant representatives of their families, of Gaza, of Palestine.

It was also a privilege to spend time with Ayed and Mohammed who had to take on the mantles of guardians, coaches, organisers, translator, media people and coordinators during the trip. They did it with smiles throughout, they are lovely men.

It was great too to hang out with my Gaza Action Ireland fam and marvel as they pulled events together at the last minute and were as solid and decent as they always have been. They rock.

This project was intended as an act of practical solidarity with Gaza and to further build civil society links between there and here. We wanted to give the children a break from life under siege and for people here to have the opportunity to meet them and to see the richness of Palestinian culture, life, sport. We want all the time that people in Gaza know that they are in our hearts, on our minds, that we want to fight against the siege that deprives them of their rights, their freedom, that they are important to us, that we are inspired by their struggle, that we will do our best to show solidarity with them. Ayed said a few times that this trip was a window to the outside world for the friends and families of the kids, trapped as they are by the Israeli siege. And the kids were always taking photos and filming everything to show their families, they were that window.

As much as the visit was a window into the world outside Gaza for the kids, it was also a window into Palestine for us. A window into the strength and resilience of Palestinian culture, the incredible collective memory. Ayed described how when they were travelling from Erez to Amman the children were asking about their original homes, towns and villages and how he was pointing them out to them. It’s really beautiful how this memory of the home, the land is passed down through the generations, from those expelled in the Nakba to today’s children. Beautiful and tragic. They will return. 

I was overwhelmed by the solidarity and love shown to the kids by people here, everywhere they went, it was very special to see the Palestinian communities here so happy to meet them.  We could have brought them to every county and it still wouldn’t have been enough. So many people wanted to meet them, host them, feed them, do activities, just brilliant. It bodes well for future visits.

Since the kids went back to Gaza I’ve read missed them, much more than I could have imagined. I talk to them online all the time and endure the jokes being sent repeatedly in Facebook recordings! They got under my skin and I want to see them again and for all of them to be safe and happy always. And we have to work as hard as we can so that they don’t have to live under siege and under threat, the siege has to be lifted.

It’s almost impossible to get into Gaza and it’s almost impossible for people there to get out, that denial of freedom of movement and human connection, so often between families in Gaza and other parts of Palestine, is one of apartheid Israel’s greatest crimes, it has to end.

When the permits were denied, I was talking to  Mohammed Abuaita who wasn’t allowed to travel. He wrote these beautiful words and has let me put them here.

    “We know that we live in a big prison
     This is our destiny..
      Let me tell you something..
     From the center of the siege .. we make Hope
      We draw a smile to the world.”

Palestinian resistance is poetry.

There are many more words, but for now I miss the shebab from Al Helal and I am immeasurably enriched by spending time with them. I wish them to be safe with every part of myself, body and soul. Kol she tamam?  #COYBFG

Shukran shebab! Khaled, Mohanned, Abdelatif, Tamer, Raed, Shabiba, Yousef, Khalifa, Zizou, Hassan, Damo, Abunajie, Amjad, Ayoub. FB_IMG_1471122134075 #COYBFG

 

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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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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.

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.