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Protests across Ireland against Israeli massacre

Thousands protested in cities across the country this evening following  a horrific mass murder by Israel of some 60 unarmed Palestinians in Gaza  on Monday. It was the single deadliest day for Palestinians in several  years.

 

Protestors had been marking the ethnic cleansing of over 750,000  indigenous Palestinians 70 years ago when they came under a hail of  gunfire. Israeli snipers used live rounds amid a fog of tear gas to  shoot down young and old alike. Some 2,700 were injured.

 

The youngest fatality was Leila Anwar Ghandoor, aged just 8 months, who  died in hospital on Tuesday morning from tear gas inhalation.

 

Protests took place today in Dublin, Belfast, Derry, Galway, Limerick,  Omagh, and Waterford, and further protests are due to take place later  in the week in Cobh, Portadown, Sligo, Ennis, Belfast and Cork. Hundreds  of republicans who gathered this evening at the International Wall in  West Belfast expressed anger after they were spied on by the PSNI police  and some were detained and searched.

 

The Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Dublin parliament that his  government was “profoundly shocked” by the toll of dead and injured.

“There is no indication that the scale of the threat could have  justified such violence and so many deaths,” he said. “Live ammunition  is not a tool to be used for crowd control in our view.”

 

Foreign Minister Simon Coveney demanded a meeting with the Israeli  ambassador on Tuesday morning to discuss the conflict. He told the  ambassador he was outraged about what had happened.

 

Speaking in the Dublin parliament, Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty said the  Israeli Ambassador should have been told “to pack his bags”.

 

“The government must expel the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland in response  to these murders and the flagrant disregard for international law, as  well as recalling the Irish Ambassador to Israel in protest,” he said.

 

But Varadkar refused to accede to calls to expel the ambassador, as  South Africa has done and other nations are considering. He said: “That  is not the way we believe we should engage with other states. If we were  to expel their ambassador they would expel ours.”

 

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald demanded the Dublin government  formally recognise the state of Palestine.

 

“The Palestinian people need our solidarity now,” she said. “This could  well be one of the bloodiest episodes in their tragic history and  Ireland must take the lead among nations in saying that there can be no  impunity or indemnity for state violence directed at peaceful protest.”

 

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood said the attacks on Gaza were deplorable and  laid the blame at Washington’s door. “It would seem that the USA  Government have walked off the pitch when it comes to diplomacy in the  Middle East,” he said. “Therefore, it is imperative that the European  Union step in and address the diplomatic and humanitarian void to end  the bloodshed inflicted upon Gazans.”

 

Academics in Ireland have added their voices to the growing national and  international calls for a complete boycott against Israel.

 

“This open and unapologetic massacre of unarmed civilians shows why we  urgently need to break links with the Israeli state and with complicit  institutions,” said Ronit Lentin, the chair of Academics for Palestine.

“The EU and Ireland facilitate these murders by funding and working with  Israeli companies and universities that are integral parts of the brutal  occupation of Palestine.”

 

The Israeli ambassador again attempted to justify the actions of his  country’s forces today, and claimed there could have been an attempt to  breach the Israeli border.  He insisted, despite two thousand  Palestinians having been killed or injured by Israeli gunfire, that its  snipers had sought to avoid civilian casualties.

 

“No country, including Ireland will tolerate any penetration of its  legitimate borders,” he said.

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