From this messy heart to yours … Happy Valentine’s Day Everybody.
This must stop - Save Gaza
Please world leaders, please, demand a ceasefire on all sides and an immediate release of the hostages.
13th February 2024
South Africa has asked the ICJ to decide whether Israel’s planned ground offensive into the city of Rafah, in southern Gaza, where many Gazans have sought refuge, requires additional emergency measures to protect Palestinians’ rights.
Israeli special forces rescued two hostages in Rafah. I am happy and relieved for their families that they are now safely returned.
Dozens were killed in that operation. There was a particularly upsetting photo of part of a young girl’s lifeless body left dangling from a building. This bloodshed cannot continue. People, children, they are not acceptable collateral damage. This is not OK. It’s got to stop.
I’m not going to offer more examples of children dying or being killed. I’ve seen so much. You have too, I’m sure. It’s just got to stop.
It is possible to negotiate for the peaceful return of all the remaining hostages, and for all sides to agree to a ceasefire. But how can this happen while the US, the UK and most of the EU support and fund either through continued trade or with direct funding or arms supplies to Israel’s campaign in Gaza? Netanyahu is counting on the conflict going on in order to stay in power. If Israel’s allies don’t insist on a ceasefire – and get those hostages home safely and without more bloodshed – it’s not going to happen. And it must. There must be a ceasefire.
Josep Borrell, the EU’s High Representative on Foreign Policy and Security Policy, suggested yesterday that the US stop providing arms to Israel if it wants less civilian deaths. It’s a good suggestion and would be popular with a lot of US voters. But we need to ask ourselves how is the EU facilitating Netanyahu in his war on Gaza?
Yesterday, the Appeals Court in the Netherlands ordered the halt of all exports of F-35 parts to Israel, because of concerns over the war in Gaza. I applaud this ruling. We need to everything we can to stop this.
11th February 2024
Yesterday our Tánaiste released a statement about the situation in Gaza. It’s well worth a read. I hope Ireland will soon join South Africa’s case. Most urgently though, what is needed is a ceasefire by all sides and the return of the hostages. This situation cannot continue.
Statement by Tánaiste, Michel Martin TD, on the situation in Rafah
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement of expanded military operations in Rafah and orders for the evacuation of the civilian population pose a grave threat to the estimated 1.5 million Palestinians sheltering in the area, and must be condemned.
I have repeatedly stressed that international humanitarian law imposes a clear obligation on all parties, to all conflicts, to ensure the protection of civilians.
It is absolutely clear that a military operation in Rafah, which has effectively now become one of the largest and most overcrowded refugee camps in the world, would entail grave violations of international humanitarian law.
It is also absolutely clear that ordering the evacuation of 1.5 million people, who have nowhere safe to go, risks mass forced displacement.
This can not be allowed to happen. All countries, including all EU Member States, must demand an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.
There can be no further equivocation.
Hamas must release all hostages immediately and unconditionally. Full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access must be provided.
Wholly inadequate humanitarian access over the last 4 months means that the UN estimates that 90% of the population face acute food insecurity, with a serious risk of famine developing. This is unconscionable.
Freezing or withdrawing funding to UNRWA further exacerbates these risks – States which have done so must urgently rescind this decision and resume funding.
UNRWA Commissioner General Lazzarini will visit Dublin next week and I will discuss with him what further support Ireland can provide to UNRWA’s essential work.
10 February 2024
26th January 2024
The ICJ delivered its ruling on South Africa’s case against Israel regarding the request for provisional measures before a final ruling is delivered. The court did not order an immediate ceasefire. But they did find that SA have a plausible case and they ordered Israel to do a number of things to prevent genocide occurring. I found a handy summary of these orders on mondoweiss.net –
Summary of ICJ ruling
- take all measures to ensure that acts deemed genocidal under the Genocide Convention do not take place in Gaza;
- ensure that its military does not commit genocidal acts;
- prevent and punish genocide incitement and rhetoric;
- enable and facilitate the provision of basic services and humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza;
- prevent destruction of and preserve evidence of genocide in its military operations,and
- report to the court within one month, informing the court of its compliance with today’s preliminary measures order, and in response to South Africa’s genocide complaint.
You can find the official court summary of this ruling here.
Ireland must join South Africa’s case
Today’s ruling was only regarding SA’s request for immediate measures. The court has yet to rule on whether genocide is occurring in Gaza. It may take years for the court to deliver its final ruling. The people of Gaza don’t have years to wait. They need a strong international response now. Ireland must join SA’s case, and we should do everything we can to stop the bombardment of Gaza.
This is right thing to do for Palestinians. It is also the right thing to do for Israel. The long term peace and security of Israel is as important as the long term peace and security and establishment of a free and sovereign Palestine.
We in Ireland know that violence will not end terrorism. It just makes it harder to break free from the vicious cycle of retribution. Peaceful negotiations which recognise the legitimacy of the other side’s aims and grievances, which come to some agreement, some settlement, that is only way. And that is an extremely difficult path to forge. But we all know it’s the only way. By we, I mean every grown up person on this planet who thinks about conflict at all. We know the only way forward is through peaceful negotiations. Our world must stand up for both Palestinians and Israelis and demand this.
We demand a ceasefire and the return of the hostages
And the very first step is an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, a return of all the hostages, and all the aid that the people of Gaza so desperately need.
11th January 2024
30th December 2023
On October 7th, Hamas launched an attack on Israel. Around 1200 men, women and children were brutally murdered, and approximately 120 were taken to Gaza as hostages. It was horrific and I totally condemn it.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict stretches back decades.
Israel began its bombardment on Gaza that same day. Since October 7th, over 20,000 men, women and children have been killed in Gaza, about 1.9 million people, over 80% of the population have had to flee their homes, 60% of the housing has been destroyed, hospitals have been targeted, and over 100 reporters have been killed. The situation is dire.
To call it a humanitarian crisis is not enough. It is ethnic cleansing and if we don’t act now to call a stop to the killing and displacement of people, then this will be a genocide.
It asked the court to issue provisional, or short-term, measures ordering Israel to stop its military campaign in Gaza, which it said were “necessary in this case to protect against further, severe and irreparable harm to the rights of the Palestinian people.”
Reuters article, By Wendell Roelf and Toby Sterling
This clip from SABC News explains the actions South Africa are taking.
South Africans have long recognised the plight of the Palestinian people. I found this piece by the late great Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Desmond Tutu to Haaretz: This Is My Plea to the People of Israel, I would urge you to read the whole piece but I want to quote the last couple of lines in particular:
Nelson Mandela famously said that South Africans would not feel free until Palestinians were free.
He might have added that the liberation of Palestine will liberate Israel, too.
My Plea to the People of Israel, Desmond Tutu
In the SABC News clip they mention that it is possible for other countries to join South Africa’s filing. Ireland should join South Africa’s filing. It is not enough to say the right things. We must act now to stop this.
30th November 2023
Please listen to this excellent speech by US Senator Bernie Sanders:
13th November 2023
The attacks on Israel on October 7th and the subsequent siege of Gaza, all of it is awful. I haven’t been able to find the words to say something right about it. I am so sorry for everyone affected. It’s sickening. All of it. And I feel we, the rest of the world, are failing all the people, all the everyday people of Palestine and Israel.
We’ve been failing the people there for a very long time now.
I am very concerned that the siege of Gaza is going to turn into an annexation of not just Gaza but all the Palestinians territories. By that I mean that the IDF will take full control of those areas. I believe we need international peace-keeping forces in Gaza and in the West Bank.
Israel has every right to defend itself. And the Hamas attacks on October 7th were so horrendous that I can’t go into any detail about them. Similarly, I cannot write about the targeting of hospitals and the refugee camp in Gaza. Israel has every right to defend itself but I do not see how the siege of Gaza is preventing future attacks on Israel or how it is guaranteeing the safe return of the hostages.
My words are completely inadequate. I want to send a message of solidarity and sympathy to both Palestinians and Israelis. And to ask anyone who is reading this to please call on your political representatives and tell them to demand a ceasefire on all sides and an immediate release of all the hostages.
Please ask your Political Representatives to demand a ceasefire
Our politicians can do something. By our politicians I mean political representatives throughout our world. They can do something. Thank you to all the Irish politicians who have loudly and clearly called for a ceasefire. Politicians across the political spectrum here have called for a ceasefire all while acknowledging Israel’s right to defend itself and the horror of the October 7th attacks, and the long-standing unjust treatment of the Palestinian people.
Free Palestine. I believe there will be a free Palestine. I hope we will see it in our lifetime.
Free Israel. I believe Israel has every right to exist, and I support and applaud its existence. I do not agree with Israel’s policies towards the Palestinian people and their territories. Increasingly I am concerned about Israel’s policies not just against the Palestinian people but against Israel itself. I am worried that it is becoming a sort of fortress state. And if Israel were to gain full control of Gaza and the West Bank I fear that the methods of surveillance currently used against Palestinians would be used against all Israelis. I believe for Israel to be truly free there must be a Free Palestine. Free Palestine. Free Israel.
I am so sorry for all the grief and pain that Palestinians and Israelis are suffering through. Please do not be insulted or offended by any of my words here. I send you my deepest sympathy and I am ashamed that is all I can do.
Please watch this video which is showing sides of this conflict that are so often ignored, the views of everyday people there.
Demand a ceasefire and a release of all the hostages. And if you can, please donate to MSF.