Wednesday 21 March 2018

Demands for expulsion of envoy

Protesters march on Dublin embassy

Allison Bray and Elaine Keogh

MORE than a thousand demonstrators marched to the Israeli embassy last night demanding the removal of the state's ambassador.

Almadi al Harati -- an Irish citizen whose wife Fatima attended the protest in Dublin last night -- was among the 50 foreign aid workers who were injured when Israeli commandos stormed the Turkish-registered ship 'Challenger 2' and opened fire.

Mrs Harati said she has been unable to confirm her husband's condition but is very worried for him as he suffers from diabetes and a heart condition.

At least 10 people were killed when Israeli troops stormed aid ships bound for the Gaza strip.

"He has four children who have no idea what's happened and I'm too heartbroken to tell them," she told the crowd.

Three other Irish citizens who were aboard the ship were not injured in the raid, which has drawn condemnation from around the world -- including from Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

The protest, which initially drew about 500 people to Dublin's Spire, quickly grew to more than a thousand as it snaked through the city centre past the Dail and wound up at the Israeli embassy in Ballsbridge.

Pensioners and other ordinary citizens joined activists, trade unionists, students and Palestinians who were all united in their solidarity with the aid workers and their revulsion over the killings.

Dublin Lord Mayor Emer Costello -- who led the march alongside SIPTU's Jack O'Connor and members of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign -- said she was "absolutely horrified" when the news broke yesterday.

Fianna Fail TD Chris Andrews, who was among three Oireachtas members due to join the international flotilla but who were turned back in Cyprus, said Ireland was appalled by what happened.

"If Israel does this when the eyes of the world are looking at it, God only knows what it does when no one is looking," he told the crowd.

Sinn Fein TD Aengus Snodaigh who was also amongst the Irish flotilla, demanded the immediate explusion of Israeli ambassador to Ireland Dr Zion Evrony, who met with Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin last night.


He also urged Ireland and the EU to withdraw from any trade agreements with Israel and to impose sanctions against it for what he said was effectively a declaration of war against Ireland.

Fellow flotilla member and Fianna Fail Senator Mark Daly likened the raid to the 1969 Bloody Sunday massacre in Derry.

Meanwhile, shoppers were urged to boycott Israeli goods during a protest held in Dundalk last night, from where the Irish naval ship the mv Rachel Corrie set sail earlier this month to join the flotilla.

She was carrying 900 tonnes of medical aid including a CT scanner as well as building and educational supplies destined for Palestinians in Gaza.

Sinn Fein TD Arthur Morgan said: "Every night for the week before the ship set sail hundreds of local people went to the quayside wishing it well and then waving it off.

"This evening was an opportunity for the townspeople to follow that up with an expression of sympathy with the deceased."

Musician Jim Corr told the crowd of about 60: "Yet again Israel has stooped to another unimaginable low. Maybe now the world will awaken to the evil that is the state of Israel."

Irish Independent

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