Irish peace movement joins global opposition to Israel’s war against Palestine
The Palestinian solidarity movement has been strong in Ireland even long before the current Israeli assault on Gaza. Here, people take part in a protest march through Dublin city center calling for an end to Israeli military action in Gaza during its last war there, July 19, 2014. | Brian Lawless / AP-PA

A massive worldwide opposition has quickly sprung up to demand a ceasefire and peace in Gaza, and the peace movement in Ireland has stepped up to join the effort.

For week after week, huge demonstrations supporting Palestine have rocked Dublin and swept across Ireland to cover nearly every city and town. Resolutions demanding a ceasefire in Gaza and an end to Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian lands have poured in from trade unions, churches, retiree organizations, and student groups.

At the latest major march in the capital, demonstrators began at the Garden of Remembrance, steadily moving across the River Liffey. “Ceasefire Now!” and “In Our Thousands, in Our Millions, We Are ALL Palestinians,” they chanted. Trade unionists in their thousands filed past under their old embattled banners, stating “We Are One/Together We Win.” Slogans such as “We Stand with PGFTU” [PGFTU—Palestinian Labour Federation] and “End the Illegal Occupation—Free Palestine” were plastered across the signs that unions hoisted.

Political parties, with Sinn Féin leading, have been prominent as well. Social Democrats, Fine Gael, the Communist Party of Ireland, the Greens, and smaller parties all were publicly represented.

The Irish parliament, Oireachtas, in both of its Houses, the Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann, passed strong resolutions, authored by Sinn Féin. The old “rebel party” of Ireland, is now the largest elected party.

While Ireland’s rebel political factions were early supporters of Israel, that sentiment has soured with that nation’s increasingly unpopular and illegal occupation of Palestinian lands. This has mirrored the rising support for Palestinian statehood. While Sinn Féin and the wider left in Ireland have long supported Palestine statehood, now even the conservative Fine Gael has joined in, assigning a representative, Lucinda Creighton, to officially lobby supporting Palestine.

Ireland has followed the International Court of Justice in its legal condemnation of Israel’s border wall and later its continuing occupation of Arab lands.

Ireland’s Oireachtas, in 1980, was the first among European parliaments to officially support Palestinian statehood. In 2010, the country expelled Israeli diplomats for using forged Irish documents to facilitate the murder of a Palestinian official in Ireland.

2017 witnessed Palestinian flags flown officially at Dublin City Hall and across the nation in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle on the 50th anniversary of illegal Israeli occupations linked to the 1967 Six-Day War.

Speaking on the latest assault against Gaza, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s prime minister, recently stated: “Israel has a right to defend itself, but Israel does not have a right to do wrong!  This [Israel’s actions in Gaza] amounts to collective punishment, genocide, which the world outlawed after WWII!”

The mass expression of Palestinian solidarity in Ireland mirrors what has been seen around the globe.

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Bruce Bostick
Bruce Bostick

Bruce Bostick is a retired steelworker and leader in Ohio Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees.