A March for Palestine, hosted by Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) and Trinity Boycott Divest and Sanctions (BDS) Campaign is to be held in Dublin at 2pm today.
The event is part of a Global Day of Action for Palestine. Rallies, vigils and gatherings are to be held across Ireland, including Belfast, Cork, Derry, Galway, Limerick, Maynooth, and Portlaoise. Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) have called on students to show “solidarity” with Palestine and participate in the Global Day of Action.
Speaking to Trinity News, TCDSU Communications Officer Philly Holmes spoke of the unions involvement with the Palestinian protest, saying alongside involvement from Trinity Boycott Divestment Sanctions Society (TCDBDS) has been a “platform what’s been happening and distribute information”.
Speaking on the protest itself, Holmes cited the importance of maintaining safety during such large gatherings: “I was there with TCD BDS stewarding the process, making sure social distancing was maintained.”
“It’s vital that any demonstration we do center the voice of Palestinians,” he continued. “We need to keep calling for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and call for the sanctioning of Israel.”
Speaking of the potential impact Ireland could have on the ongoing situation, Holmes was adamant that Ireland’s international influence could be a force for good.
“Ireland has quite a large influence despite our small population size. We can show we do not support the ongoing war crimes, apartheid and ethnic cleansing that’s being happening over the past 73 years.”
Holmes added: “The OT bill being debated in the near future, is a vital way that we, as a nation, can sanction Israel for their unacceptable actions. Contact your representatives and urge them to support the sanctioning of Israel via this bill.”
The Occupied Territory Bill is currently going through legislation at the Dáil.
Holmes concluded by expressing the urgency for students to “keep the social media pressure up”.
Last Saturday, Trinity BDS held a rally in support of Palestine, and on Tuesday, IPSC and the BDS Campaign hosted a protest at the Israeli embassy. Today’s protest will begin at the Spire on O’Connell Street before marching to the embassy in Ballsbridge.
The protests are calling for an end to Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, the eviction of Palestinians by Israeli settlers, and Israel’s blockade of Gaza.
Ahead of the event, IPSC chairperson Fatin Al Tamimi said “As a Palestinian with close family in Gaza who has been so anxious and worried over the past two weeks, it has given me great strength and hope to see the people of Ireland in cities, towns and even villages all over the land out on the streets to support my people.”
On Friday, Egypt brokered a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas after 11 days of fighting. Both sides celebrated the ceasefire as a victory. While the agreement has brought an end to the immediate violence, many key issues remain unresolved. Conflict is likely to resume in the future in the absence of a long-term peace agreement.
The recent violence began with Hamas firing rockets at Jerusalem in response to multiple Israeli police raids on the Al-Aqsa mosque, and evictions of Palestinian families by settlers in East Jerusalem. Tensions had been escalating since Ramadan began in April, with nightly clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police.
Israel retaliated with an intense air bombardment of Gaza. While Israel claimed to be targeting Hamas, it has been criticised for disproportionate force and failing to protect civilians in the densely populated region.
At least 248 Palestinians in Gaza, including over 100 women and children and 13 Israelis, including 2 children, were killed over the course of the bombardment. Hamas has not disclosed the number of fighter casualties.
The ‘fragile’ ceasefire has already been tested by clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, after Friday prayers.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations (UN) have begun delivering humanitarian aid into Gaza, after calls for aid corridors to be opened, despite Israel’s continuing blockade of Gaza.
This article was updated at 1:48pm on May 23 to include a statement from TCDSU Communications Officer Philly Holmes.