Two stage tree protest at Israeli embassy


Two members of the Ireland-Palestinian Solidarity Campaign are protesting up a tree in the grounds of the Israeli Embassy at Ballsbridge, Dublin.

They are doing so in support of Ms Caoimhe Butterly who is besieged in the compound of President Mr Yasser Arafat in Ramallah.

The women, who are friends of Ms Butterly, are drafting a letter to the ambassador that they say will be delivered this afternoon. Until they get a response, the protesters say they will remain up in the tree.

Earlier this morning, Ms Mary Banotti, Fine Gael MEP, visited the Israeli ambassador but has declined to say what happened. She said she was attempting to arrange a meeting with the Palestinian representative in Dublin and that she would issue a statement afterwards.

However, Ms Banotti said she was "extremely concerned" about the situation and would do anything in her power to help resolve it.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed it is in "constant contact" with Ms Butterly in Ramallah.

A Department spokesman said Ms Butterly had turned down the offer of an ambulance out of the besieged compound despite having indicated earlier she would be interested in leaving.

Meanwhile, ireland.comhas received a statement from Ms Butterly this evening which indicates she is unharmed and still in the Ramallah compound.

Ms Butterly appealed to both the Irish Government and Irish people, and international organisations to work for a solution to the current crisis.

She also indicated that she would be staying in Ramallah.