Palestinian flag to fly above Dublin’s City Hall

Israeli ambassador wrote to council to say move would be ‘highly politically charged’

Dublin City Council has agreed to fly the Palestinian flag above City Hall for the month of May. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

Dublin City Council has agreed to fly the Palestinian flag above City Hall for the month of May. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times.

 

Dublin City Council has agreed to fly the Palestinian flag above City Hall this month despite opposition to the move from the Israeli ambassador to Ireland.

People Before Profit councillor John Lyons said he proposed the motion in solidarity with the people of Palestine to mark 50 years of Israeli occupation in the West Bank and to show the support of the international community for the Palestinian people.

Mr Lyons has said the move would support communities living under a form of “apartheid, worse than South Africa”.

In a letter to city councillors ahead of the meeting, Israeli ambassador Ze’ev Boker said flying the flag would be “highly politically charged” and demonstrate a one-sided approach by the council to the conflict.

“Dublin has a long and proud tradition of welcoming new communities, and I know of many Israelis who have come to Dublin for work reasons and decided to stay,” he wrote.

“We must ask what kind of message such a gesture sends to these Israelis who are proud to now call Dublin their adopted home?

“I also know that some members of the Irish Jewish community are concerned by the negative message that the flying of the flag promotes.”

Alternative

Mr Boker said the embassy would be “delighted” to assist in an alternative initiative aimed at bringing Israelis and Palestinians together to “promote understanding between our peoples”. He urged councillors to reject the motion.

Fine Gael councillor Anne Feeney proposed a compromise in which both the Palestinian and Israeli flags would be flown for a week in May to acknowledge the “extensive suffering experienced by civilians” on both sides of the conflict.

That motion was defeated with just 11 councillor supporting her proposal and 43 councillors voting against. Mr Lyons motion was passed with 42 councillors in favour, 11 against and seven abstentions.

A number of councillors voted against both motions saying only the Irish and European flags should fly above city hall.