Blixa Bargeld and Teho Teardo, Don’t Play Apartheid Israel

Dear Blixa and Teho,

Since the beginning of this campaign, we have been pondering the fact that Blixa has made a film for television on the ex-Israeli musician and activist Dror Feiler, which is due to air on the Arte TV channel four days before Blixa’s own planned concert in Tel Aviv on 15 September.

It is commendable that this film will shine a light on Dror’s activities, which most significantly include his participation in several of the flotillas to break the Israeli government’s brutal siege of Gaza. However, Blixa’s planned concert in Tel Aviv, four days after the broadcast of this film, would completely negate any positive impact coming from it, and would amount to both an affirmation and amplification of Israeli propaganda. The proximity of the broadcast to Blixa’s scheduled breach of the Palestinian BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) call inevitably gives the impression that the former in some way is expected to justify the latter. The Israeli government, by viewing “culture as a propaganda tool of the first rank”, has created a zero-sum game scenario, the iron logic of which allows for no ambiguity and can only be successfully opposed by a boycott. By weaponising culture itself, the Israeli government further compels artists to decide between providing it with further ammunition or refusing to be complicit in this. It is precisely for this reason that Palestinian civil society has called for a cultural boycott of Israel.

In addition, while the tension arising from the broadcast of the film and the breach of the boycott immediately afterwards appears to give rise to an interesting dialectic, this scenario is achieved at the expense of Palestinian suffering. It seems, therefore, that Blixa is instrumentalising Dror Feiler, but also, and more importantly, the wider political situation as a whole purely for effect. By the same process the Israeli government will be able to instrumentalise Blixa for its own propaganda aims. We wonder if Blixa feels comfortable being used by a state that employs culture as a weapon while also using physical weapons such as cluster bombs and white phosphorous against the Palestinian people, killing and maiming thousands.

Furthermore, artists should not think that in using their performances in Israel as a platform to criticise the state and its policies they are constructively contributing to the Palestinian cause. They are doing nothing of the sort, but rather they facilitate Israeli government in its propaganda by allowing it to portray itself as a democracy tolerant of criticism, when, in fact, this is not the case.

Nor is the argument valid that there are other states in breach of international law, the point is that the Palestinian people have called for a boycott, just as those struggling against South African apartheid did. All that is being asked of you is that you not cross the Palestinian picket line.

Even if there is no direct government involvement of funding in this particular gig, PACBI’s guidelines stipulate “In general, PACBI urges international cultural workers (e.g. artists, writers, filmmakers)… where possible and as relevant, to boycott and/or work towards the cancellation of events, activities, agreements, or projects involving Israel, its lobby groups or its cultural institutions, or that otherwise promote the normalization of Israel in the global cultural sphere.” And “It must be emphasized that a cultural product’s content or artistic merit is not relevant in determining whether or not it is boycottable.”

The reality is that for Israel any show that isn’t cancelled because of BDS appeals is considered a political victory over the Palestinian struggle and international solidarity with it. Hence any artist that’s been appealed to and refused to boycott is a win for Israel, in the view of the state.

Performing in Tel Aviv means playing for a segregated audience, on ethnically cleansed land, can you really see yourselves doing that?

For these reasons, we must repeat, with added emphasis, what so many international groups wrote to you in their first letter: “The call to boycott Israel until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights was first made in 2005, by over 170 (now over 200) Palestinian civil society groups. The boycott is a non-violent tactic against oppressive state power. It would be extremely disappointing if artists of your stature chose to break this call for solidarity with the Palestinian people, particularly at a time when Israel is escalating its daily attacks on them.”

In all of this the plight of the Palestinians is once again pushed into the background and the foreground struggle becomes that of yet another high-profile western artist refusing to use their position of privilege to stand in solidarity with people who have only asked that they do no harm. Therefore we would like to conclude by quoting the Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel’s letter to you:

“We are asking you to not side with the oppressor by performing in Tel Aviv 15th September. Don’t let your music normalize the racist brutality and the ethnic cleansing Palestinians suffer from day in day out under the control of the Israeli Apartheid regime. Instead, let your music stand on the right side of history. If you do so, you will look back with a clean conscience when the day arrives that we Palestinians are granted the same human rights as anyone else.”

Letters

From Gaza

 From International Groups

From Boycott from Within (2

  From Don’t Play Apartheid Israel

From Boycott from Within (1)

PALESTINIAN-ISRAEL-CONFLICT-GAZA-FLOTILLA

Palestinians hold their national flag as they ride boats during a rally to show support for activists aboard a flotilla of boats who are soon to set sail for Gaza in a fresh bid to break Israel’s blockade of the territory, at the seaport of Gaza City on June 24, 2015. Freedom Flotilla III

Tel Aviv https://electronicintifada.net/content/jaffa-eminence-ethnic-cleansing/8088

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Blixa Bargeld and Teho Teardo – Please Don’t Play Apartheid Israel

Dear Blixa and Teho,

 

We are very dismayed to see that you have a concert in Israel on 15th September this year and are writing to ask you to reconsider playing there and breaching the Palestinian picket line.

Many principled musicians chose to take a stand and cancelled their gigs in Israel and we hope you will join them. As Thurston Moore explained after he cancelled last year: “It was with serious deliberation that I eventually arrived at the personal conclusion that to perform with my band in Israel was in direct conflict to my values. With the realization that a cultural and academic boycott is central to its purpose in exposing a reality of brutal human rights violations – including those accompanying Israel’s discriminatory laws and occupation of the West Bank – I felt the need, with humility, to cancel the engagement.”

Many artists of conscience have chosen not to play there since Palestinians are denied their most basic human rights by Israel. They have heeded the Palestinian call to boycott which was issued in 2005 and has the support of more than 200 civil society organisations.

Large swathes of Palestinian land have been stolen and ethnically cleansed for the development and expansion of illegal Israeli settlements. Currently over 500,000 illegal settlers live in the West Bank in direct contravention of international law.

Palestinians are denied their fundamental right to freedom of movement. A vast matrix of checkpoints, roadblocks, walls and fences separates local villages and towns from each other, and sometimes even cuts entire towns in half. Israeli settlers face no such restrictions, they travel on Jewish-only roads and live in illegal Jewish-only settlements at the expense of Palestinians. This Israeli government policy of segregation has had a devastating effect on the livelihoods and family life of millions of Palestinians and is uniformly condemned by human rights groups.  Many of those who resisted and protested South African apartheid are horrified by the brutality of Israeli apartheid and how it is used against the Palestinians. You will be playing to a segregated audience if you play this gig.

In 2014 Israel’s bombardment of Gaza’s dense civilian population killed over 2,200 Palestinians, with 550 children murdered and thousands more injured. Over 100 thousand people have been left homeless. Israel carried out similarly devastating massacres in 2012 and in 2008-2009. UN reports have found significant evidence of war crimes in these attacks including the use of white phosphorus – a chemical weapon, and the murder of unarmed civilians carrying white flags. Of course, no sanction has been invoked against the perpetrator of these crimes which is why it is so important that civil society act.

To compound the misery, virtually no building materials are allowed due to the ongoing Israeli siege of Gaza which controls what commodities enter, even down to the amount and type of food and medical supplies, and leave the territory.

Palestinians are also subjected to mass imprisonment. The Israeli military has detained around 750,000 Palestinians since 1967. The Israeli army tries prisoners – including minors – in closed and unaccountable military courts, denies them access to lawyers, subject them to tortures and abuses, all in contravention of international law.

Further to the situation of the 4 million + Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, the 1.5 million Palestinians having Israeli citizenship face racial discrimination enshrined in more than 50 Israeli laws that systematically, directly or indirectly, discriminate against them. There are also approximately 5 million Palestinian refugees scattered worldwide who are denied their right to return to their homes.

Since October 2015 220 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the militarily occupied West Bank.

This Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign, modelled on the boycott against apartheid South Africa, is supported by over 1,000 culture workers in the UK alone and many more artists worldwide. The boycott has been respected by many artists, including: Leftfield, the Killers, Thurston Moore,  Lauryn Hill, Roger Waters, Elvis Costello, Brian Eno,  Mira Nair, Ken Loach, Massive Attack and Alice Walker.

Israel is all too aware of the power that artists wield. Since 2006 it has been running an aggressive PR campaign it calls ‘Brand Israel’, deliberately using culture as propaganda. This PR campaign seeks to promote an image of the state as a peace living, fun and vibrant liberal democracy, and obscure its violent and racist reality. The aim is to promote a false image in order to distract from the harsh realities of occupation, dispossession and wanton destruction.

Israeli promoters and propagandists for Israel tell musicians that art should not mix with politics and that artists do not play for the government but merely entertain ordinary people. But in fact,  Israel has been using artists who breached the boycott as a means of legitimising their crimes against the Palestinian people.

You face a choice – you can stand up for human rights and against oppression and injustice by respecting the Palestinian boycott call. Or you can allow yourself to be cynically used for the whitewashing of apartheid.

We hope that you will cancel your planned gig in Israel on September 15th and refuse to entertain Israeli apartheid.

Many thanks for reading, in solidarity,

DPAI (Don’t Play Apartheid Israel)

We are a group, of over 1700, representing many countries around the globe, who believe that it is essential for musicians & other artists to heed the call of the PACBI, and join in the boycott of Israel. This is essential in order to work towards justice for the Palestinian people under occupation, and also in refugee camps and in the diaspora throughout the world.

Blixa Bargeld and Teho Teardo: Don’t play in Apartheid Israel.

 

Blix

Gaza Action Ireland Statement on Freedom Flotilla 3

From Gaza Action Ireland (GAI)
Irish group condemns Israel’s attack on Freedom Flotilla 3, Calls for End to the Siege of Gaza

Gaza Action Ireland strongly condemns today’s attack by Israel on the ships of the Freedom Flotilla and calls for an end to the illegal, immoral siege of Gaza.

As the people of Gaza waited expectantly on the shores of the besieged enclave, and as the ships of Freedom Flotilla 3 sailed towards them in solidarity and to highlight the siege, Israeli forces boarded them and kidnapped the crews.

As with previous campaigns by human rights activists to reach Gaza by sea, Freedom Flotilla 3 had been sailing in international waters over which Israel has no sovereignty, making the latter’s interference in the boats an act of piracy. GAI commends the work of solidarity groups to continue to bravely highlight the siege of Gaza.

The 48 participants on board the flotilla from 17 countries include human rights activists, journalists, artists, and political figures,one of them a Palestinian Member of the Knesset. Members of our own organization have previously sailed with many of those aboard and were attacked, kidnapped and illegally held by Israel.

“We remember only too well the lengths Israel went to maintain its illegal siege of Gaza, from attacking ships, murdering nine people on the Mavi Marmara and imprisoning and deporting peace activists, as well as stealing our vessels, aid materials and equipment.” GAI coordinator Mags O’Brien said.

Flotilla 1

The situation in Gaza has become increasingly grim and even before last summer’s murderous 51 day assault by Israel where more than 2,200 people, including more than 530 children were killed, NGOs and civil society were warning of extreme humanitarian disaster. Since then, almost no rebuilding has taken place with up to 100,000 people having spent the winter in makeshift tents, sleeping in schools and structurally unsound buildings.

The UN’s most recent inquiry into the situation on Gaza published earlier this month reports on massive emotional and psychological wounds felt by Palestinians as a result of the blockade and the most recent military assault on Gaza.

Israel and Egypt have maintained the blockade since 2007, increasing its intensity to unprecedented levels since the last major military assault on Gaza in the summer of 2014. Patients needing to travel outside the strip have died as a result of this closure, which amounts to forced imprisonment in the territory.

Zoe Lawlor, GAI coordinator, said, “We call on Israel to immediately lift the siege of Gaza, to allow all materials for reconstruction to enter and to cease its imprisonment of the Palestinians living there. We also call on the Irish government to cease its arms trade with Israel and to push for sanctions on that state until the latter ends its apartheid policies and daily violations of international law. It is an affront to humanity that Israel is not held accountable for the suffering it continues to inflict.”

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 in Ireland in the coming year. In addition to artists and sports clubs, it has also forged links with fishermen, journalists, human-rights activists and providers of emergency services.
Gaza Action Ireland on Facebook
Twitter: @GAI1

From Besieged Gaza to Tricky: Show us solidarity, boycott Apartheid Israel -PACBI

21 February 2014

Dear Tricky, dear Adrian,

It grieves us to learn of your scheduled gig in Israel set for 26 February 2015, at a time when Israel continues unabated with its colonial and apartheid designs to further massacre, oppress, dispossess and ultimately violate our very basic rights as Palestinians.

In 1948, Israel ethnically cleansed the Palestinian people from their land in order to systematically form an exclusivist Jewish state (reference Ilan Pappe). It has since denied Palestinian refugees —constituting today more than 7 million people, which roughly corresponds to 70 percent of all living Palestinians who are scattered throughout the world and displaced inside their country— their internationally recognized right to return to their homes and their lands.

In 2004, inspired by the triumphant cultural boycott of apartheid South Africa, and supported by key Palestinian unions and cultural groups, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) issued a call for the academic and cultural boycott of Israeli institutions involved in Israel’s occupation and apartheid.  The movement calls for a boycott until “Israel withdraws from all the lands occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem; removes all its colonies in those lands; agrees to United Nations resolutions relevant to the restitution of Palestinian refugees rights; and dismantles its system of apartheid.”  I wish, in my letter to you, to underscore the importance of this Palestinian call, urge you to cancel your appearance in Tel Aviv and stress the rationale for the global boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

In fact, I was struck —in a very powerful way— by reading the description on your web site of your latest single, My Palestine Girl:

My Palestine Girl is the album’s heaviest and most political track. A relationship with a Paris-based Palestinian inspired Tricky to think about the challenges of a relationship with someone who lived in Gaza. “Imagine if the love of your life was there,” he says. “It’s a political thing to divide and rule. I’ve been to Israel. The kids I met don’t hate Palestinians. It’s a political thing.”

Reading your words, I’ve decided to write you very shortly, partly about life in Gaza, and partly in the hopes that you will open communication with me as a Palestinian woman in Gaza. Here, in Gaza, where I have been living all my life, we have been subjected to a criminal, inhumane and immoral siege since 2006.  The siege is considered illegal as it represents a form of collective punishment, and entirely hampers the freedom of our movement and our access to the most life-saving services such as health and education. As part of this siege, Israel has prevented not only various types of medicines, candles, books, crayons, clothing, shoes, blankets, pasta, and chocolate, but also musical instruments. We are literally caged inside this overcrowded, tormented and strangulated enclave, and face a very tight Israeli security cordon that has sharply restricted our movement in and out — including even international solidarity activists and cultural figures who try to reach the 1.8 million Palestinians incarcerated in the world’s largest open-air prison. The future becomes unimaginable and hope is hard to maintain.  Could you sing for us in Gaza under these conditions, Tricky?  Would the Israelis allow us to attend your show?  The answer is an unequivocal no.

I have survived three Israeli assaults on Gaza between 2008 and 2014. Three of my relatives were martyred by Israel’s “precision-guided” missiles in the offensive of 2012. In the 51-day massacre in Gaza last summer, Israel ferociously slaughtered more than 2,300 people— wiping out entire families and leaving more than 1,500 of Gaza’s children orphaned — not to mention the hundreds of injured civilians who are now suffering long-life disabilities. 10,000 Gaza residents are still sleeping on the floors of United Nations-run schools. Many more mothers with their siblings are surviving the heavy winter storms in makeshift shelters or huddling in their bombed-out houses with no heating or running water. All told, 100,000 people remain homeless.

In the wake of this assault— just one latest episode of the long history of Israel’s atrocities— and to salvage its deteriorating image, Israel has redoubled its effort to “brand” itself as an enlightened liberal democracy. Arts and culture play a unique role in this branding campaign, as the presence of internationally acclaimed artists from the West is meant to affirm Israel’s membership in the West’s privileged club of “cultured,” liberal democracies. But it should not be business as normal with a state that routinely violates international law and basic human rights.

Your performance would certainly serve this Israeli campaign to rebrand itself and will be used as a publicity tool by the Israeli government. “It’s a political thing,” as you say.

Please don’t be persuaded by the argument that music builds bridges and can bring smiles to people’s faces, thus ultimately spreading peace! We hear no music here, but buzzing drones, bombs and F16! Again, “It’s a political thing”.  And this is why I am convinced of the importance of artists’ public stances backing the cultural boycott of Israel since it applies the continual pressure that’s needed. Many prominent international cultural figures and artists including John Berger, Ken Loach, Arundhati Roy, Roger Waters, Sting, Snoop Dog, among others, have also heeded our call and cancelled their participation in festivals or gigs in Israel. Recently,

1,000 influential British artists signed on to a cultural boycott of Israel. I wholeheartedly urge you not to turn a blind eye to the realities of Israeli apartheid and to heed our call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until it recognizes Palestinian rights and fully complies with international law.

As these words are penned, I have no electricity and the only source of light I have is that of the laptop screen. My heart is truly broken for all the undignified suffering we are witnessing and for being confined and unable to smell the air of freedom like other human beings. Our deprivation of our basic rights under the siege has not only been physical but also mental, cultural and psychological. Under a siege, life is reduced to existence or survival as we are dying slowly without medicine, adequate food and electricity and cooking gas. Culture stagnates as there are no resources and mental space for anything beyond the mundane—to engage in an artistic and cultural discussion is even a luxury for people living in Gaza.

Performing in Tel Aviv today is similar to performing in Apartheid South Africa’s Sun City.  If you are not convinced, I urge you to come and see for yourself if you are lucky enough for the Israelis to allow you into Gaza.  This is not about the kids in Israel; this is about the political and cultural institutions that you legitimize by performing there, and about the Palestinian kids (and people) whose voice you silence by ignoring their call for solidarity through boycott.

 

PLEASE think through Israel’s trespasses and say no to performing in Israel.

Yours Sincerely,
The Palestinian Campaign for the Cultural and Academic Boycott of Israel

Tricky_-_August_13,_2009

Tricky, Apartheid Israel is a Murder Weapon – Don’t Play

On twitter: @KnowleWestboy

Official Facebook page

Letter from DPAI (Don’t Play Apartheid Israel) Tricky: Cancel your apartheid Israel Gig, recognize BDS!

Letter from BDS France:  Lettre a Tricky: reconsider your planned concert in apartheid Israel

Tricky: Cancel your apartheid Israel Gig, recognize BDS!

Dear Tricky (Adrian Thaws),

We recently heard you and your band plan to play in Israel on 26 February this year.  Your planned gig comes a few months after Israel embarked on a murderous 50 day attack on the Palestinian people living in Gaza.  Israel’s misleadingly termed ‘Operation Protective Edge’ killed over 2,200 people (including over 510 children) and maimed 10,000 more, left thousands homeless and caused the obliteration of 89 entire families.   The devastation in Gaza is catastrophic and, as this is the third major assault on the Strip in just six years, has left the people there deeply traumatised. Israel also regularly kills Palestinians in the West Bank, imprisons thousands, including children, and carries out illegal home demolition as well as settlement building. There are more than 50 laws which discriminate against the Palestinian citizens of Israel, while those in the West Bank live under occupation, those in Gaza live under siege and constant attack, and the huge refugee population, spread all over the world, lives with the pain of exile and dispossession.

Would you perform for the oppressors in any state? Would you have performed in Sun City during the era of South African apartheid?  From EBONY magazine regarding Dream Defenders, formed in the aftermath of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin’s killing last year:
“Dream Defenders unanimously passed a resolution to support the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in this interval [1].”
On 15 January, Dream Defenders visited Occupied Palestine and did a solidarity demonstration in support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign called for by Palestinian civil society in 2005 [2].
Tricky_-_August_13,_2009

While you may be told that music is a way to build bridges, in fact your very presence will be used as an endorsement, whether given or not, of Israel’s policies. Indeed its official state social media sites regularly post about artists who breach the boycott, linking them to state policy – do you really want this?

 

Award winning author and BDS supporter David Sheen writes about Israel:
“Another type of racist assault that has become increasingly common in Israel is attacks on Africans. Incitement against the 50,000 non-Jewish Africans who have sought asylum in Israel in recent years, including top government officials comparing them to cancer and Ebola, has made them a popular target for racist ruffians in Tel Aviv. Locals report it is not uncommon for Israeli youths to throw dog feces at African mothers nursing their babies. In January, an Israeli man stabbed a one-year-old African baby in the head and later explained to police that he did it because “they said that a black baby, blacks in general, are terrorists [3].”

 

Tricky, we appeal to you to join many other artists of conscience, and respect the Palestinian-led call for a cultural boycott of Israel, to stand with the principle that justice -contingent on freedom and equality- must be present before peace is possible.

Please know that you will not be playing to a free audience in Israel, you will be playing to a segregated audience, one which Palestinians cannot be part of. Your audience enjoys its privilege at the expense of millions of incarcerated, occupied Indigenous Palestinian people, and also African refugees who are imprisoned in camps in Israel.

Israel is an apartheid state engaged in extreme discrimination against the Palestinian people. With so many years occupying and dehumanising the Palestinian people, Israel is an extremely racist society in which marches are common against the indigenous people and also immigrants seeking asylum.

Inspired by this Palestinian led struggle which has huge international support, many artists have refused to play in Israel, including over 500 Irish artists who have all signed a pledge to respect the boycott. [4] The choice to join them is yours, please do the right thing.

DPAI (Don’t Play Apartheid Israel)

We are a group, of over 1700, representing many countries around the globe, who believe that it is essential for musicians & other artists to heed the call of the PACBI, and join in the boycott of Israel. This is essential in order to work towards justice for the Palestinian people under occupation, and also in refugee camps and in the diaspora throughout the world.

DPAI Facebook page:

Tricky, Apartheid Israel is a Murder Weapon – Don’t Play

Tricky’s twitter is: @KnowleWestboy

NOTES

[1]http://www.ebony.com/news-views/dream-defenders-black-lives-matter-ferguson-reps-take-historic-trip-to-palestine#axzz3P0RYklDX]

[2] https://www.facebook.com/DreamDefenders/posts/664571190318530

[3] http://www.alternet.org/world/how-israel-covers-its-ugly-racial-holy-war

[4] http://www.ipsc.ie/press-releases/irish-artists-pledge-to-boycott-israel-reaches-500-signatures

Original source:

 

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).

AL H

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.

Gaza

“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.