The raising of the flag will mark the 50th anniversary of Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. The motion was put forward by Councillor John Lyons of People Before Profit, as “a gesture of our solidarity with the people of Palestine living under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza“.
— Cllr. John Lyons (@CllrJohnLyons) May 9, 2017
The decision to carry the flag has been reported accross several global media outlets (notably RT), with Israeli website Ynet reporting the story as a ‘provocative gesture’. The Israeli ambassador to Ireland, Ze’ev Boker also condemned the decision as “highly politically charged” in a letter to the council.
Fatin Al-Tamini, of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign welcomed the decision to fly the flag, replying it will “commemorate the forcible expulsion of over 750,000 indigenous Palestinians from their homeland between 1947 and 1949 to facilitate the creation of the apartheid state of Israel on 78 per cent of historic Palestine”.
Why has this gathered so much attention? We’re not going to even attempt to explain the history of Israel and Palestine here, the whole thing is a mess, and a touchy subject for people on both sides of the debate. All history aside, the basic facts are that Palestinians are currently having their land, homes, and country encroached upon by state backed Israeli settlers, a move considered to be in direct opposition to international law.
This won’t bring peace to the Middle East, but at the very least it might alert a few Dubliners to the realities of life in occupied Palestine, and for the people living under persecution in their own country it’s a sign that others around the world are aware of it.
Ireland is a nation with its own history of land being seized by foreign occupiers, so a flag – a flag that represents a nation that Ireland doesn’t officially recognise – flying over our capital’s City Hall is a sign of solidarity and respect to those treated as second-class citizens in their own homeland.
Photo credit Gino Kenny.