Thousands attend rallies in Dublin and Cork to show support for people of Palestine

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said it was “not acceptable” that children were being killed by Israeli fire.
Thousands attend rallies in Dublin and Cork to show support for people of Palestine

Protesters gathered today on the streets of Cork in solidarity with the people of Palestine and to call on the Irish government to help step in to help end the violence in the region. Picture: Damian Coleman

Thousands of people have gathered across the country to show their solidarity with the people of Palestine in the midst of an ongoing conflict with Israel.

Large crowds assembled around the Spire on O’Connell Street on Saturday afternoon calling for an end to violence against the Palestinian people.

Businessman, Izz Alkarajeh, attended today's protest in Cork City. He said the support for the Palestinian people on display was heartening.
Businessman, Izz Alkarajeh, attended today's protest in Cork City. He said the support for the Palestinian people on display was heartening.

The protesters marched through the city to the Israeli embassy in Ballsbridge chanting “Free Palestine” and carrying banners calling for the end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine and for a stop to the genocide.

The Palestinian flag was waved in the air alongside the Irish tri-colour and Algerian and Pakistani national flags.

Similar demonstrations took place in Belfast, Cork and Galway.

In Dublin, People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett, who attended the rally, called for an end to the “apartheid state”.

“Why does the world continue to treat Israeli as a normal state,” he asked the crowd.

“It is precisely because we oppose racism that we must oppose the Israeli state. We must demand the dismantling of the Israeli state.

“In its very essence this State is about racism. It’s about giving preferential treatment to one group at the expense of the other.

“In no other place in the world would this be tolerated. When we say ‘one state, one Palestine’ it is about ending the horror of racism and apartheid, saying a Jew, an Arab and a Christian and people of no religion all have equal rights in the land of Palestine.”

Elsewhere in Cork, a Palestinian man who has built an award-winning business in the city joined the pro-Palestinian rally.

Izz Alkarajeh, who along with his wife, Eman, runs the renowned Izz Café in the city centre, marched alongside several hundred people through the city centre to a rally at the Grand Parade which heard calls for the Israeli ambassador to Ireland to be expelled.

Mr Alkarajeh said it was “pleasing and encouraging” to see so many people take to the streets in support of the Palestinians.

“We felt that the world was not paying attention to our cause,” he said.

But when we see this many people, it’s really something very positive and I feel more hopeful now that our rights will be supported by free people.

“There are positive signs from the Irish government too but I am really looking forward to seeing more pressure from the Irish government on the Israeli regime.”

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said it was “not acceptable” that children were being killed by Israeli fire.

He tweeted on Saturday: “32 children killed since Monday in #Gaza by Israeli fire – that’s approx 1/4 of all fatalities – It’s not acceptable! Israel has int. legal obligation to protect children in conflict & r not doing so! #Ireland will speak forcefully again at UNSC tomorrow.”

In response to a Unicef social media post detailing the deaths of a further eight Palestinian children in the Gaza strip, Mr Coveney tweeted: “This cannot be acceptable to the International Community.

The protests came as the Associated Press reported that an Israeli air strike destroyed a high-rise building that housed the AP, Al-Jazeera and other media in the Gaza Strip.

The news agency said there was no immediate explanation as to why the building was targeted.

Thousands of Palestinians have been forced to flee from their homes after a week of sustained conflict.

Since Monday night, Palestinian militant group Hamas has fired hundreds of rockets into Israel, whose military responded by barraging the Gaza Strip with tank fire and air strikes.

At least 126 people have been killed in Gaza, including 31 children and 20 women.

In Israel, seven people have been killed, including a six-year-old boy and a soldier.

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