Israel and Palestine: The victims of victims…

The current violence in the Middle East is profoundly depressing. Your heart goes out to the poor Palestinians who are stuck between the extremists of Hamas and the extremists of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). John Oliver had a pretty good take on the situation in Last Week Tonight: This week’s David McWilliams podcast with Tom Friedman was a good overview of the complexity of the situation. The excessive response of the IDF is nothing short of pure murder and …

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Publish or be damned: a party’s (very public) swipe at the Irish News

A brief ‘ICYMI’: an image appeared on Twitter at the end of last week criticising the Irish News over would-be coverage of Palestine the newspaper “chose to ignore”. Posted in the main Sinn Féin account on Thursday 8th, the image was published as a direct Twitter reply to a story the Irish News ran the same day featuring Palestinians voicing concerns over Sinn Féin meetings with Israel’s Likud party. The public broadside throws up some interesting points about the relationship …

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Hope must lie with the children of Israel/Palestine

Hope must lie with the children of Israel/Palestine: Professor Padraig O’Malley talk at Queen’s University Belfast by Allan Leonard for Northern Ireland Foundation 21 October 2015 Professor Padraig O’Malley gave a bleak prognosis of the Israel/Palestine peace negotiations, calling the two-state proposal ‘delusional’. At an event hosted by the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice (ISCTSJ) at Queen’s University Belfast, Prof. O’Malley shared his insights into the psychological and structural complexities of peace making in that …

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Your Guide to Israel’s General Election

Israel goes to the polls on St Patrick’s Day to elect a new parliament, which in turn will either confirm incumbent Binyamin Netanyahu in office or oust him in favour of the centre-left. The St Patrick’s Day connection? If Netanyahu loses, he will be replaced by a man whose father was born in Belfast’s Clifton Park Avenue and whose grandfather was Chief Rabbi of Ireland. Polls indicate that it will be a close run thing, with 11 lists, many covering …

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Shelling UN schools and media soundbites in #Gaza

Last night yet another UN school was hit by Israeli shells, reportedly adding a further 16 dead to the ever growing number of fatalities in Gaza. That death toll has now more or less doubled since the Irish and UK governments abstained from the UN vote on Gaza last week. In the absurd media war that is taking place, varying weights of credibility are being attached to IDF spokespersons on individual incidents like this, as well as the wider context of …

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EU statement on abstention from #UNHRC #Gaza vote

Even with no immediate end in sight to the violent Israeli assault on Gaza, one dimension of the post-ceasefire landscape is already clear. Despite the global connectivity offered by social media and the public platitudes of political ‘leaders’ it is clear (and has been for a very long time) that the international diplomatic architecture is simply not fit for purpose. The immediateness and intimacy the internet offers produces some extraordinary dissonances. The emotional response of communities across the world coming …

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Israel/Palestine and the Irish perspective

The people of Ireland are hugely sympathetic to the people of Palestine! There you go my bid of understatement of the year is well and truly lodged. Like most people, I have watched incredible and horrific scenes of Palestinian people losing their homes, jobs and relatives as they face a pounding from one of the most advanced military forces in the world. Likewise, I have watched images of Israeli’s running for shelter as rockets fly in from Hamas. While there is …

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#GazaUnderAttack and the myth of proportionality

Spare a thought for the 1.8m people who live in the Gaza strip and are currently being subjected to air strikes by the Israeli Defence Forces (e.g. see Haaretz for regular updates). If you want an idea of what conditions in Gaza are like, you can get a grasp of population density if you can imagine moving all the population of the six counties into an area from the tip of the Strangford peninsula up to about Bangor. Now think of the impact of …

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What happened in Galway was wrong but don’t be misled about BDS

As a longstanding advocate for Palestinian rights, I unequivocally condemn the shameful and frankly unacceptable behaviour emanating from a student at NUI Galway who last Wednesday disrupted an event on campus, telling BICOM’s Alan Johnson to “Get the f**k off our campus now“. There, I’ve said it. I don’t think I lose any credibility by rejecting behaviour that is wrong, damaging to Palestine solidarity work and also contrary to the centuries-old practice on university campuses of open forum discussion on …

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… a ballot paper in one hand: #Gaza 2012

There seems to be nothing that exposes the impotence of the much vaunted international community more starkly than the meek tolerance of Israeli violence in the Palestinian territories and Lebanon. News outlets like the BBC are now reporting both that the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) are leafleting Gazans warning of an imminent invasion of ground forces, and, that all air attacks will end later today (technically these aren’t mutually exclusive claims). Either way, the recent Operation Pillar of Cloud has already seen the …

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#FreedomWaves now en route to #Gaza.

For Update see below. Two ships are currently in international waters on their way from Fethiye in Turkey to try and deliver medical aid to Gaza. The Palestine Chronicle reports that, on the Freedom Waves flotilla, there are twenty-seven activists from nine countries, including the US, Canada, Denmark, Belgium, Germany and Australia alongside Palestinians from Bethlehem and Haifa. One of the two ships in the flotilla is the MV Saoirse, the Irish boat which was sabotaged en route to join an aid flotilla earlier this year. There was no …

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Irish Ship to Gaza sabotaged

The Irish Ship to Gaza campaign have reported sabotage to their vessel, MV Saoirse, which they claim was carried out by Israeli agents. The MV Saoirse was to participate in another Free Gaza flotilla aimed at breaking through the Israeli blockade to bring aid to the Gaza region. Al Jazeera are reporting this as the second incidence of sabotage this year. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not softening significantly from last year’s line, judging by recent comments reported by Ha’aretz (which also has concerns about the …

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Images of the individual’s resistance, revolt and defeat…

Some odd resonances around the globe this week, from Peru to Palestine via Banna Strand. Today, Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa was named as the recipient of this year’s Nobel prize for literature. Vargas Llosa has travelled a pretty scenic route from supporting Fidel Castro, to an unsuccessful presidental campaign in 1990, a Cervantes Prize in 1995 and, latterly, a comfy chair among the Peruvian centre-right. In the announcement of the award, the committee cited his cartography of structures of power and …

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DUP to block Gaza debate at Stormont today…

The DUP is moving to block a vote on the emergency Gazza debate today through using a ‘petition of concern.’ Mover of motion is William Irwin. The debate was proposed by independent MLAs Gerry McHugh and Dr Keiran Deeny, and supported by at least 30 MLAs. Under Standing Order 11 of the rules that govern the Assembly, if the First Minister/deputy First Minister or at least 30 MLAs request a special sitting, the Assembly can be recalled. The plenary sitting …

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