Crowds gathered outside the Dáil in solidarity with Palestinians. Muiris O'Cearbhaill/The Journal

Rally held outside Dáil in solidarity with Palestine

The rally condemned the “Israeli occupation and oppression” of Palestine and was backed by People Before Profit and the Union of Students in Ireland.

A SOLIDARITY RALLY for Palestinians was held outside Dáil Éireann this evening by TDs and representatives from People Before Profit, the Union of Students in Ireland and The Irish Anti War Movement.

The rally was held after clashes between Israeli forces and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, following surprise attacks by the latter inside Israel starting early on Saturday morning.

The Irish Anti War Movement (IAWM) announced an emergency rally yesterday, to be held outside the Dáil today. 

The rally condemned the “Israeli occupation and oppression” of Palestine and was backed by People Before Profit and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).

Speaking to the crowd, which blocked off the junction between Molesworth Street and Kildare Street, a Palestinian living in Ireland, ‘Dr Ahmed’ said what is happening in Palestine is a “reaction” to years of oppression from Israel.

Dr Ahmed claimed that the Palestinian scenario is “more severe” than the war in Ukraine and believes it’s a “double standard” that the international community has supported Ukraine, and not Palestine.

Over 1,200 people have already been killed in violence in Israel and Gaza in the worst violence seen in the region since 2014.

Today, Israel massed thousands of troops along the Gaza Strip after the country’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant has ordered a “complete siege” on the region as the military pounded the Palestinian enclave with air strikes last night.

This was after Hamas militants attacked and kidnapped thousands of Israeli citizens over the weekend, including a mass-shooting at a music festival of which Irish-Israeli woman Kim Damti (22) is among those who still remain unaccounted for

This morning, the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed it is in contacted with a “small number of Irish citizens in Gaza” and is providing support and consular assistance where required.

People Before Profit (PBP) TD Paul Murphy announced his support for the rally despite the Israeli ambassador to Ireland saying it was a “shame” to see Irish politicians share and display Palestinian flags on social media this weekend.

Writing on X, formerly Twitter, today, Murphy said:”Stop the Attacks on Gaza! Free Palestine!”

As the crowd gathered outside the Dáil on Kildare Street, members of An Garda Síochána closed both ends of Kildare Street.

The crowd, holding signs and baring Palestinian flags, grew a sizable amount and blocked the junction between Kildare Street and Molesworth Street.

USI Vice President Zaid Al-Barghouthi, who himself is Palestinian, said the government must intervene to stop Israeli oppression. 

Al-Barghouthi said while students are witnessing people their age lose their lives, people in government, through their relationships with the international community, have the power to stop that.

Speaking at the event, PBP TD Richard Boyd Barrett said: “This story did not begin two days ago,”

“This story began in Gaza, at least for the 18 years, but in reality since 1948. Decades of oppression, persecution, millions of Palestinians rotting in refugee camps, in the most horrendous conditions.

Denied their identity, denied their history in Lebanon and Syria and Jordan, scattered to the winds of the world, denied the most basic thing an identity, a history.”

“That is the crime that has been done to the Palestinian people, and Israel is allowed do it, with impunity,” he added.

Sinn Féin TD and party leader Mary Lou McDonald equally condemned the the targeting of the Gaza Strip and attacks on Israeli citizens by Hamas. She labelled the tactics by Hamas a breach of international law that must be condemned.

Speaking to RTÉ’s News At One today, McDonald added: “I have to say the the bombardment now of Gaza is equally to be condemned.”

A number of Irish TDs and MEPS have also told The Journal that they condemn the projection of the Israeli flag that was put onto the European Commission’s headquarters in Brussels over the weekend.

Landmarks around Europe, including the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and Downing Street in London, have been lit up with the blue and white flag of Israel in a show of solidarity since Hamas’ attack on Saturday. 

Additionally, the European Union today suspended development aid payments to Palestine, a move that was criticised by Irish Green Party MEP Grace O’Sullivan.

The Gaza Strip, the compact home to 2.3 million Palestinian people, half of them children, is one of the most densely populated piece of land on earth, according to Amnesty International.

Previous attacks on the crammed region in the Middle East by Israeli forces has received criticism by many pro-Palestinian groups, including the IAWM who said it should be “no surprise as to why Palestinians may want to attack Israel”.

“As an anti-war and peace organisation we mourn the loss of all civilian life but we recognise that Palestinians have a legal right to defend themselves and fight back against continued attacks by the apartheid regime of Israel,” the group said in a statement yesterday.