Gaza Kids to Ireland 2017– Media

Here’s some of the coverage of this year’s brilliant visit from the kids from the Al Helal Football Academy, Gaza, Palestine #COYBFG

Leitrim Observer

FAI Report

FAI Palestinian children take part in Irishtown friendly

Warm welcome for children from Gaza ahead of football tour around Ireland

From Gaza to Sandymount: Teens living under blockade enjoy first trip abroad and enjoy kick-about on Dublin beach

Gaza Kids to Ireland welcomes young footballers for Irish tour

Children Arrive for ‘Gaza Kids to Ireland’ Football Tour


Beautiful shots at Ballinteer St. John’s GAA
PICTURED: Gaza children arrive in Dublin to play hurling and raise awareness

A GAA-s time for Gaza kids

Great TV3 Report on Sandymount Strand – about 11.30 minutes in
Gaza Kids on Sandymount Strand

‘Gaza Kids’ soccer tour #COYBFG kicks off in Ireland with welcome by Dublin City Mayor

Galway Bay FM: Gaza Kids Come Back to Galway

Gaza Kids To Tallaght call on local community for support

Gaza Kids to Ireland welcomes young footballers for Irish tour

Ocean FM: Palestinian children to take part in Manorhamilton Rangers matches

Great piece by Emmet Malone in the Irish Times

Palestinian visitors melt Irish hearts as football finally takes centre-stage

“By the middle of next week, they will be back home again, and trying to play their football again in what has often been described, even by then British Prime Minister, David Cameron, as open air prison. In 10 years time, if they get the chance to develop their talent, they might be representing it and the rest of what they regard as their country in international competition. As things stand, though, there is absolutely no basis to believe that the challenges they face will be any different to now.

Fifa will still be kicking to touch with perhaps the most likely thing to have the changed, the number of clubs defying the rules and making life a little awkward for handsomely rewarded officials who just want to be liked by all the members of the great, dysfunctional fiction that is the football family.”

Video: Gaza Kids touch down in Dublin

RTÉ Video Report on Manorhamilton Visit

Palestinian footballers taste success on Leitrim visit

Cork: Palestinian youth side to play against Blackpool’s Castleview tomorrow

Today FM, Al Porter Show Gaza Action Ireland Coordinator Zoe Lawlor 40 minutes in

Zoe Lawlor Today FM

Young footballers from Gaza arrive in Cork for Mardyke Arena game

Strong piece in the Irish Times on the Cork visit

Gaza academy u-15 team get warm welcome in Cork for soccer friendly

Academy president, Ayed Abu Ramadan was delighted with the welcome they received in Cork. “We are overwhelmed at the generosity of the Irish people for inviting our young players here and I can see the impact that it has on them, not just as footballers but also in terms of their personal development as it teaches about the other,” said Mr Ramadan. “It’s great that they get to see that the world is not all like Gaza because back home we don’t see any other people – we see just ourselves and the Israeli army and they think the whole world is like Israel so a visit like this reinforces hope for them for the future.”




Irish participant on ‘Freedom Flotilla’ comments on Israel’s “faux-apology” to Turkey

Gaza Action Ireland
PRESS RELEASE, 24/3/13, 13:00
Reacting to Israel’s apparent rapprochement with Turkey on Friday – and the much-publicised ‘apology’ issued for the murders of nine human rights activists on the Mavi Marmara on 31 May 2010 – Gaza Action Ireland national coordinator FINTAN LANE has described himself as “disappointed and unimpressed by Israel’s faux-apology. This is cynical geopolitics rather than a genuine act of contrition. It is about power politics and getting Turkey back on side.”
Fintan Lane was one of a handful of Irish citizens who participated in the Freedom Flotilla and was on board the vessel Challenger 1 when the six-ship aid convoy was attacked by Israeli forces while on its way to Gaza. Lane subsequently took part in Freedom Flotilla 2 and Freedom Waves to Gaza flotilla, both of which tried to reach Gaza in 2011. He is National Coordinator of Gaza Action Ireland (formerly known as Irish Ship to Gaza).
Commenting on Israel’s apparent apology for the killings on the Mavi Marmara, Lane said: “This so-called apology has been issued simply to mend relations with Turkey, but the Turkish state had nothing to do with the Freedom Flotilla, which was organised by civil society organisations from across the globe. An apology needs to be issued to all those on board all of the ships that were attacked and, most importantly, the root issue needs to be addressed – Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza. The choice of words is revealing in that Israel speaks of possible ‘errors’ and ‘mistakes’ in their assault on the Mavi Marmara, but what happened was no mistake. I was alongside the Mavi Marmara when it was attacked and saw the ferocity of the Israeli operation – it was very deliberate and it was inevitable that people would die. They also attacked our vessel using a great deal of violence and several people were injured. Let’s be frank, the violence used against the Freedom Flotilla was designed to intimidate and dissuade international human rights activists from launching further flotillas. It was a calculated act of international terrorism.”
(Monument to the nine people murdered on the Mavi Marmara by Israel in Gaza seaport.  Zoë Lawlor)
He continued: “Since this so-called apology was made, Israel has made it clear that the siege of Gaza will continue. That is what people should focus on. Our nine colleagues were killed in international waters by heavily armed Israeli commandos while non-violently attempting to undermine Israel’s blockade. We must ensure that this is never forgotten. The illegal blockade of Gaza should be completely ended. Palestinians in the Gaza Strip must be allowed to rebuild their lives and their local economy – that necessitates an ability to import and export, which is being denied them by Israel.”
There were four Irish on board Challenger 1 (including Irish-Australian journalist Paul McGeogh). Two of those – Fintan Lane and Shane Dillon – are now active with Gaza Action Ireland.
*’Gaza Action Ireland’ was formerly known as ‘Irish Ship to Gaza’.

Imagining Death – RTÉ and its coverage of Gaza

Imagining Death – RTÉ and its coverage of Gaza

The media reporting on Israel’s latest deadly attack on Gaza has been appalling. I’m not sure if it is worse than usual but it is certainly dreadful. Irish media has tended to report from the Israeli perspective more or less constantly. The news bulletins lead with Israeli government or military statements, they focus on rocket attacks from Gaza, they refer to Israeli soldiers and Hamas militants. They describe Hamas targets being hit. They rarely talk of the Palestinian people in terms of our shared humanity, they don’t have names, jobs, lives – they are numbers, and inaccurate ones at that – “around 140 Palestinians”. “….in what Israel says is a response to rockets….the Israeli military says….the Israeli cabinet today…”

Friday 23rd November on RTÉ radio 1, Pat Kenny said the number of dead Palestinians in Gaza after Israel’s murderous assault (my words) is “over a hundred”. That’s 62 “over a hundred” Pat, that’s 162 people – that’s a lot more than a hundred. That’s people, you know – human beings.

On Sunday 18th November an entire family, the Al-Dalou family was murdered by Israeli bombs, four children, five women and two men were killed. There were other atrocities that day, in two separate missile attacks, two fathers and their young sons were killed, they were distributing water and maintaining the water service.

I was in Dublin that day where we had a report from a friend just back from Gaza. Among the many harrowing things he described was the strain that the hospitals are under due to the siege. I got into my car that night, turned on the radio to hear the news and listened to Richard Crowley’s report. Having described the deaths of the family, he then went on to imagine Israeli deaths – he said “They’ll increase the aerial bombardment, they’ve done that today.  The hope is to destroy as many Hamas targets as possible before any ceasefire and the danger of course is as they do that is that the civilian casualties in Gaza will rise and we saw evidence of that today with the death of about ten members of one family including several children. Now equally civilian deaths on that scale on the Israeli side could equally collapse the talks. Remember the Israelis have been very lucky so far with very few deaths, so really what the Israelis are hoping to do is to force Hamas to keep their heads down and reduce the numbers of rockets…”

So, instead of for once focusing on the actual Palestinians killed, Crowley hypothesised about the consequences of imagined Israeli deaths. We know that in the orientalist prism that these journalists operate, Israelis have primacy over Palestinians but for imagined deaths to take precedence over real deaths is astonishing.

The RTÉ Six One News that Crowley’s report comes from gave us this analysis: “11 people thought to be civilians were killed in an Israeli airstrike on a Gaza apartment building. At least four children are reported to have been among the dead. It’s now thought that the Palestinian death toll has climbed to 65 but the Israeli president says that a supreme effort is being made to avoid civilian deaths.” Now this report was accompanied by footage of dead children being taken from the rubble of their home so either RTÉ is disputing that those children are civilians or the editor isn’t even listening to the script.

The next day, when twin babies and their parents had been killed (they had named one of the boys, Mohammed after his brother who they lost in Israel’s twenty-two day assault on Gaza in 2008/09) and in the wake of the Al Dalou family massacre, the RTÉ news website report on its front page had a picture of Israelis running ‘for cover’ in a shopping mall in Tel Aviv, this is incredible. There is obviously an element of laziness, of incompetence but there is also a clear agenda being operated here. Editorial decisions are obviously being taken to give the Israeli narrative of victimhood and to depict the Palestinians as violent and terroristic.

As well as increasing amounts of journalistic fallacy and inaccuracy, there is an utter lack of both empathy and context. Why are Palestinian voices not heard? Why are the numbers of their dead irrelevant? Why are they not at the forefront of reporting when they are the victims of overwhelming Israeli aggression?

Where is the context? Gaza is under illegal siege, the people there have nowhere to go to, they have rights as an occupied people, they don’t have an army, an airforce, there are no bomb shelters for people to go to. The people of Gaza are mostly refugees from Israel’s ethnic cleansing. Collective punishment is illegal under international law. These are not opinions, these are facts yet they are not mentioned by journalists ‘covering’ this.

It must be noted that until the ceasefire Crowley reported from Jerusalem, we are not told why he wasn’t in Gaza. Although he was able to interview Israelis there and in Tel Aviv and worry about the tourist industry, he never managed to report about the three Palestinians murdered in the West Bank by the IOF as they protested the massacre in Gaza. Conclusions. Draw them.

Among the many war crimes committed by Israel in this attack, the targeting and murder of three journalists chimes. The apartheid state has long tried to eliminate those who would expose their crimes, they allowed no journalists into Gaza in 08/09. There has been almost no mention of the murder of colleagues by the Irish media.

On 19th November on the news, Richard Crowley says that Israel’s “targeted assassinations can go horribly wrong”. To anyone, journalists especially, it should be obvious that bombing one of the most densely populated places on the planet can ONLY have the result of mass murder. This IS Israel – it is going horribly right. While we hear constantly about Hamas targeting civilian populations, or firing ‘indiscriminate’ rockets, we never hear this about Israel’s war crimes.

Tuesday 20th November, RTÉ finally get around to interviewing a Palestinian woman living in Ireland. Fatin Al Tamimi’s sister lives in Gaza with her family. In order to provide the dreaded B.A.L.A.N.C.E that only seems to be required when Palestinians are finally given a voice, an Israeli woman who has nephews called up into the army was on too. Fatin’s segment was also heavily edited, leaving out much of her main points.

I am focusing on RTÉ as it is the state broadcaster, by far the most influential broadcast media in Ireland and is publicly funded and supposed to have a public service remit. There are huge issues with the print media and other radio and television outlets too, they are for another day.

Tuesday 20th on the Mary Wilson presented Drivetime, she interviewed Gisela Schmidt Martin in Gaza, working for the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. Martin gave a very articulate interview which conveyed the horror the people of Gaza were being subjected to and then Mary Wilson put the Israeli side to her, she said that the Israelis would say they were responding to rockets. Not only was it unnecessary for Wilson to give the Israeli perspective, it is hardly off the airwaves, but she had just interviewed an equally articulate Israeli professor and at no point did she feel compelled to present him with the Palestinian narrative. This is constant.

Turned over to Matt Cooper on Today FM who was interviewing an Israeli whose mother had to move to another room because of rockets from Gaza. Now there are two things here: obviously I don’t want anyone afraid or threatened, but she has another room to move into and her government is the aggressor. I can bet everything I have that Matt Cooper would never interview a Palestinian with family in Gaza in such a sympathetic fashion. He would not allow them to assert, as he did this guest, that the Irish media is biased against his ‘side’ and that his government is not effective at getting the story of their victimhood across. Then I went to a vigil for Gaza.

On Friday 23rd the RTÉ news carried a report from Gaza where Crowley said this: “Yesterday evening the bodies of two more members of the Dalou family were found  in the rubble of their home bombed in error by the Israelis four days ago.”

 IN ERROR? In fucking ERROR?

The Israelis have already stated that they wanted to kill a Hamas member in that building, that they targeted it deliberately. As Palestinian life is of no consequence to the Israeli war machine, they don’t make mistake, they just kill – sometimes it’s the ‘right’ person, sometimes not – whatever. But we hear all the time from our media about Palestinian indiscriminate rocket fire, but the few times they kill people are not referred to as ‘errors’.

Photo AP/Bernat Armangue

Why are these journalists so desensitised to the Palestinian people? Why do they refuse their humanness? Why don’t they look, really look, at the facts? It’s an agenda, but is it that they have been pressured by the Israeli embassy? The government? What is it? Because it’s either incompetence or some form of extreme bias, or a lethal combination of the two.

While Hamas are demonised and depicted as unreconstructed terrorists who wish for the destruction of Israel, the truth of negotiations, of efforts to create and maintain ceasefires are ignored. Al Jabari’s role in the release of Shalit? His work on negotiating a ceasefire? Doesn’t fit the agenda, doesn’t get reported.

The filthy, racist rhetoric coming from within the Israeli far right never reaches the Irish airwaves. We don’t hear about the MKs calling for Gaza to be crushed into dust, turned into a stone age. War criminal Sharon’s son’s vile calls to flatten Gaza, to unleash a Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the people there isn’t discussed, it doesn’t fit the narrative.

There are brilliant and unbelievably brave Palestinians blogging and reporting from Gaza, even CNN manages to put them on occasionally. You will not see them in the Irish media. Why not? Our media would have us believe that the world’s fourth largest military power, a nuclear armed state backed to the hilt by the US and the EU is under attack from besieged Gaza. Pillars of propaganda.

I might never finish writing this piece, it might go on forever as the media bias accelerates. I’ll stop here, for now – but this will continue. We have to keep challenging them, insisting they report both facts and context. No ‘side’ will be required then, the truth speaks for itself – that’s why we don’t hear it on our airwaves.

To close, Friday 23rd, Richard Crowley, finally in Gaza asked a cousin of the Al Dalou family, as they pulled more of their dead from their bombed home: “Do you think you could ever forgive and make peace with the Israelis?” That was his question. In that context.

The prism? Israelis. The Palestinians? Ignored, dehumanised.

Pillars of Cloud, pillars of death, pillars of society, pillars of lies.

End the siege, free Gaza, free Palestine and BDS every minute until it happens.

Tánaiste’s Response to Attack on Gaza Criticised


PRESS RELEASE, 2pm, 16/11/12


Gaza Action Ireland has responded strongly to the Tánaiste and
Minister of Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore’s “fence-sitting response to
Israel’s ongoing attacks on Gaza”. In a statement published on the
Department of Foreign Affairs website, Minister Gilmore suggested that
the assault on Gaza was ‘triggered’ by Palestinian rocket attacks on
Israeli towns.


According to Mags O’Brien, a spokesperson for Gaza Action Ireland,
“The ongoing assault on Gaza is part of a pattern of punishment
attacks that Israel has engaged in since placing the Palestinian
territory under blockade in early 1991. The Israeli state
systematically uses brutal violence and illegal collective punishment
to keep the people of Gaza in a state of subjugation. This is utterly
unacceptable and it is unhelpful for Eamon Gilmore to suggest an
equivalence of violence. The violence used by Israel is entirely
disproportionate and indefensible. Minister Gilmore also knows that
the Israeli blockade of Gaza is illegal under international law.”

Ms O’Brien continued: “Palestine and Israel are not two states at war.
In reality, Israel, a nuclear power, has occupied, settled and
dissected one part of Palestine and is blockading another.”

She concluded: “Israel’s attack on Gaza must be halted and it is
important that the international community puts relentless pressure on
Tel Aviv to end the violence. The Irish government needs to adopt a
more robust and less equivocal position. The minister should also be
leading the demand for economic and political sanctions against Israel
until it ends its siege of Gaza and its occupation of the rest of

A number of demonstrations are taking place around Ireland in response
to the latest Israeli assault on Gaza, codenamed ‘Operation Pillar of
Cloud’ and Gaza Action Ireland is calling on people to turn out in
support of these events.


Limerick – 5.30pm @ Thomas Street, Limerick city
Waterford – 6pm @ Red Square, Waterford city
Belfast – 5.30pm @ The International Wall, Divis St, Belfast city


Dublin – 2pm @ The Spire, O’Connell Street, Dublin 1

Gaza on my mind

Watching the latest barbarity and atrocities in Gaza perpetrated by monstrous, murderous Israel and  friends from Gaza are posting about their buildings shaking, about explosions, about bombs, about F16s,  about tanks, about ground invasions.  They are posting about noise and fear and strength. They write about the Internet being cut off, about injuries, about hurt, about deaths. They are living in this nightmare, they are being attacked and they are still strong. It floors me.

They talk about solidarity helping to sustain them but maybe that’s just a kindness to those of us not there, trying to make us feel better because that’s what the Palestinians are like. They are strong, they take it to unimaginable levels, they have got sumoud coming out of them like a force.

I wish I could do something more, and the tears roll down. This has to stop.

Gaza will not go down. Palestine will not go down. Abide, resist, live.

Irish activists condemn Gaza attack


PRESS RELEASE, 10am, 15/11/12


Gaza Action Ireland condemns the ongoing assault on Palestine by Israeli forces that has so far resulted in several deaths and many injuries. Israel has threatened to continue its vicious attack on the Gaza Strip for some time.

Commenting on the Israeli onslaught, Mags O’Brien, a spokesperson for Gaza Action Ireland, said: “This is an unbearable situation for the Palestinian people and the international community cannot stand by and watch it worsen. How many people have to die before common sense prevails and sanctions are brought against Israel? These murderous attacks must cease and pressure must be brought to bear on Israel to end its illegal blockade of Gaza.”

Ms O’Brien continued: “The Irish government must lead the demand for economic and political sanctions against Israel. Minister Gilmore needs to be proactive and should move beyond words to action. Strong words are not enough unless they are backed by strong action.”

Gaza Action Ireland are also calling on people to support the various demonstrations and vigils being organised across Ireland this evening and tomorrow in solidarity with the Palestinian people of Gaza. In particular, they are asking people to support tonight’s 5:30pm demonstration at the Israeli embassy in Dublin which is organised by the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Despite their breach of the Palestinian boycott call, Red Hot Chili Peppers campaign is a BDS success.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers played at the Pic.Nic festival in Israel on September 10th 2012.  Although the Red Hot Chili Peppers chose to play in Israel and ignore the Palestinian boycott call, the campaign calling for them to cancel has been very successful and is testament to the growing BDS movement.

From the time of  learning of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ plans to play in Tel Aviv, members of the global BDS movement embarked on a campaign to reach out to the band, led as always by PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel). Thirteen groups wrote open letters to the band, over 7,300 people signed a petition asking them to cancel and over 1,200 people joined a Facebook page calling for same.

In early September, as a result of a strong campaign,  Mashrou’ Leila cancelled their scheduled opening for the Red Hot Chili Peppers in Lebanon.

There can be no doubt that the RHCP were aware of the campaign calling for them to stand with the Palestinian people and against apartheid. Indeed on Friday 7th September, Chad Smith (@RHCPchad) tweeted this: “In any city of any country we play..Our sole purpose is to uplift people thru our music. Nothing more. Nothing less ..that’s it.”

Numerous BDS campaigners tweeted to Chad Smith, as they had been doing for the entire campaign, to let him know that playing in Israel is never just about the music and appealing to him and his fellow band members not to cross the Palestinian picket line.

On Sunday 9th September, the Israeli government (@GPOIsrael) made the very case that the BDS movement always stresses, that it is not possible to separate music and politics, by tweeting: Boycott calls unlikely to cool Red Hot Chili Peppers’ first concert in Tel Aviv, Israel – Times of #Israel  #music

That the RHCP not once either acknowledged the campaign or engaged with any of the organisations calling on them to cancel is a terrible indictment of them on a personal level and illustrates the poverty of their socially aware image. Calling for the freedom of Pussy Riot, while admirable and necessary, is not difficult –  it is a very mainstream campaign, however, calling for the freedom of the Palestinian people takes courage, something they manifestly failed to display.

BDS continues to grow as a tactic to use pressure to hold Israel accountable to international law and to gain equal rights for the Palestinian people. In their summary report of the 7 year anniversary of BDS, the Boycott National Committees estimate that “the global reach of the BDS movement is maybe best highlighted by this year’s edition of the BDS Global Day of Action which took place in 23 countries and the fact that the 8th annual Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) was organized this year on campuses in 202 cities across the world, causing near panic in the Israeli public diplomacy ministry, which scrambled 100 envoys to counter IAW around the world.”

Thus, while it is unfortunate that the RHCP chose to play apartheid Israel and not to join the growing list of artists who have taken the principled decision not to play today’s Sun City, the campaign has contributed to a growing awareness both of the BDS movement and of the reality that the Israeli state does take artists playing there as an endorsement of that state’s policies.

For the future we can hope that more and more artists join those who have refused to be used to whitewash apartheid, artists of conscience such as Faithless, Leftfield, Gorillaz, Klaxons, Roger Waters, Massive Attack, Gil Scott Heron, Santana, Pete Seeger, Pixies, Tindersticks, Elvis Costello, Ken Loach, Cat Power and many more who have refused to condone occupation, apartheid and war crimes.

BDS, it’s unstoppable!