Irish Academics denounce Gaza slaughter

PNN/ Bethlehem/

ACADEMICS in Ireland have added their voices to the growing international call for action against Israel’s ongoing slaughter of protesters in Gaza.

Academics for Palestine (AfP), a group that works to forge links with scholars and students in Palestine and to support an academic boycott of Israeli institutions, said its members were full of horror and anger about events in Gaza.

“This open and unapologetic massacre of unarmed civilians shows why we urgently need to break links with the Israeli state and with complicit institutions,” AfP chair Ronit Lentin said. “The EU and Ireland facilitate these murders by funding and working with Israeli companies and universities that are integral parts of the brutal occupation of Palestine.”

Students, children and lecturers have been among the many hundreds of victims of Israeli rifle-fire near the wall that separates the besieged Gaza strip from Israel.

For many years, educational institutions in Gaza have been crippled by the stranglehold Israel holds over the territory, preventing travel and blocking materials from reaching Gaza’s 2 million residents. Schools and universities have been bombed in previous Israeli assaults.  In the occupied West Bank, too, Palestinians students and the institutions where they study regularly come under Israeli attack.

Palestinian students who are fortunate enough to study abroad often face difficulty returning home to their families.

AfP representatives met over the weekend with Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. Barghouti told Irish supporters that popular sentiment here needs to be matched by concrete action from the Irish Government to hold Israel accountable for its actions.

As Barghouti wrote in the Irish Times Tuesday, “As a first step to fulfil its legal obligations, Ireland must prohibit entry of goods and services produced in settlements established in occupied territories and end direct and indirect military trade with Israel.”

AfP urged its supporters to attend protest and solidarity events around Ireland during this week, with various events marking 70 years since the ‘Nakba’ saw the expulsion of more than 750,000 Palestinians from their homes.