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Palestine’s ambassador to Ireland Jilan Abdalmajid at the SF Ard Fheis today. Sinn Féín

SF crowd chants 'free Palestine' as ambassador to Ireland receives rapturous applause at Ard Fheis

McDonald there is a growing view that the issue of sanctions and consequences for Israel has to be addressed.

LAST UPDATE | 11 Nov 2023

THE PALESTINIAN AMBASSADOR to Ireland received a rapturous applause at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis this afternoon, where she was embraced by former party leader Gerry Adams. 

Palestine’s ambassador to Ireland Jilan Abdalmajid told the crowd that Gaza is “hell on earth”, and thanked people for their support for the Palestinian people.

“Israel doesn’t spare any living person or object in Gaza,” she said. “This is beyond rage and revenge. Now, there is no safe space in Gaza.”

“A political solution can be found,” said the ambassador, but only one that results in the Palestinian people being able to live with “peace and security in our land”. 

The ambassador received a standing ovation from attendees, with the crowd also chanting: “Free Free Palestine.”

In an interview with The Journal, the ambassador said she has sent a message back to the Palestinian Authority to seek their help to free the Israeli-Irish hostage Emily Hand – the eight-year-old girl’s father Thomas is originally from Dublin. She is also working back channels to attempt to get 40 Irish citizens out of Gaza via the Egyptian border.

F-p_g2_W8AELQYf Mary Lou McDonald embraces Palestine’s ambassador to Ireland Jilan Abdalmajid on stage at the SF Ard Fheis in Athlone. Sinn Féín Sinn Féín

There was also a loud applause from delegates today when Sinn Féin’s Matt Carty said his party will table a motion calling for Israel to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the actions it has taken in Gaza.

Carty also stated that the hostages taken by Hamas on 7 October must be released. 

Speaking to reporters at the party’s Ard Fheis in Athlone today, the Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald called on the government to support the motion. 

She also repeated a call for the Israeli ambassador to Ireland to be expelled.

sinn fein 28_90692791 Gerry Adams embraces Palestine’s ambassador to Ireland Jilan Abdalmajid after her address to the SF Ard Fheis today.

She confirmed that her party will support the Social Democrats motion on the matter next week. 

McDonald said there is a growing view right across Irish politics and society that the issue of sanctions and consequences for Israel has to be addressed.

Noting the comments made by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar this week that breaches of international law cannot be inconsequential, McDonald said the next move should be a referral to the International Criminal Court.

She said that referral is something that “Irish government can come behind”.

“They’ve made their position on the ambassador clear, I disagree with them, but they have set out their stall on that. Therefore, we will bring the motion to the Dáil next week that seeks a referral by the Irish government, by the Irish state, to the International Criminal Court. And I see no reason why the Irish government would not come behind that motion,” she said. 

The office of the prosecutor of the ICC said on Tuesday its mandate applies to the current conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

Reuters reports the prosecutor’s office has said the ICC has had an ongoing investigation into “the situation in the State of Palestine” for alleged war crimes committed since 13 June 2014.

“This mandate is ongoing and applies to crimes committed in the current context,” the prosecutors said.

McDonald today repeated a call for a ceasefire in the conflict as she said:

“Clearly when the ambassador’s government despite the calling from parliaments – but more important from the United Nations – refuses to countenance a ceasefire and peace, and when that government relentlessly bombards a civilian population which has resulted in thousands of deaths, many thousands of children’s lives taken, attacks on UN properties and personnel, on journalists.

“In those circumstances, you’re absolutely bound to examine every lever that you you have at your disposal to put pressure on that policy and put pressure on that government.

“It’s not simply to expel and ambassador for the sake of it, this is all about ceasefire”.

She added that she wanted to be “absolutely clear” that the hostages taken by Hamas must be released. 

“I think is is really, really alarming and really dangerous that the Netanyahu government has repeatedly refused to agree to a ceasefire,” she said. 

McDonald said the Palestinian ambassador is due to address the event.