Netanyahu’s criticism of Irish Aid

 

Sir, – In the last week, both President Michael D Higgins and the Department of Foreign Affairs have come under attack from Israel’s government and prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu. President Higgins drew Israel’s ire for meeting the international award-winning Palestinian social justice campaigner and co-founder of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement, Omar Barghouti. Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs’s Irish Aid stands accused by Mr Netanyahu of “supporting NGOs that call for the destruction of Israel”. The NGOs in question are Trócaire and Christian Aid.

Academics for Palestine, a group of academics working in Ireland North and South in support of justice for the Palestinian people and the instatement of their rights under international law, commend the President for his ongoing commitment to justice. We also note that the Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar have rejected Mr Netanyahu’s scurrilous allegations against Irish Aid, while criticising Israel over its ongoing occupation of Palestinian territory and the continued building of settlements on Palestinian land, in contravention of international law.

With this in mind, we urge our Government in the strongest possible terms to call for an end to the siege of Gaza where a dire crisis has been engineered, making life impossible for the two million people who live there, more than half of whom are children.

The UN has reported that by 2020 Gaza will no longer be a “liveable place”.

This is no time for silence, but rather a time to end this unfolding atrocity that shames us all. – Yours, etc,

Dr RONIT LENTIN,

Chairwoman,

Academics for Palestine,

Dublin 8.