I attended the march yesterday and one banner said it all for me – ‘Stop the Slaughter in Palestine’ because it is slaughter, of innocent people especially children. Those children who survive will have psychological and emotional scars, not to mention the physical scars many have already from the onslaught. I bumped into Margaretta d’Arcy at the march; good to read the open letter by 50 Israeli army reservists on what is happening.
I did sign the Book of Condolences in the Mansion House last weekend, acknowledging the pain and suffering of the Palestinian people. Why are the Palestinian people being collectively punished for the activities of Hamas? The onslaught, the destruction, the suffering – the injustice will breed extremism and further violence.
During the week, at the request of Trocaire, I hosted a meeting in the Dail with Ms Lubnah Shmali, a Palestinian human rights worker based near Bethlehem. A very interesting and frank discussion mainly around the areas of international law being broken by Israel, particularly in relation to the charters on Displaced Person and Refugees. If people are being evacuated there are certain rights to which they are entitled. Equally ‘safe’ places of refuge must be respected which is not happening in Palestine. Due and proper warning of attack also should be given.
There has to be serious and meaningful dialogue, discussion to find peace with justice, and a lasting peace. The E.U. have to be firm in demanding no less.