Gaza crisis highlighted at Derrylin march

Published Sunday, 03 August 2014
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The conflict in Gaza has been highlighted at a Hunger Strike Commemoration in Co Fermanagh on Sunday afternoon.

Michelle Gildernew, Sinn Féin's MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, spoke of the support for the Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom and justice during an address at the rally which was attended by thousands of people.

On Sunday, it was confirmed that an Israeli strike on Gaza had killed 10 and wounded 35 at a United Nations school in the town of Rafah which was being used as a shelter for 3'000 people displaced by this latest outbreak of violence between Israel and the terrorist grouping Hamas in the war-torn region.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described the attack as a "moral outrage and a criminal act" and called for those responsible for the "gross violation of international humanitarian law" to be held accountable.

At present, over 1'700 Palestinians, 64 Israeli soldiers and three Israeli civilians have lost their lives.

Speaking on the conditions in Gaza, Ms Gildernew said to the crowds: "Imagine living in an open, over crowded prison, with little work, widespread poverty, and an economy and society under siege.

"The powerful governments of the world have stood back and time after time excused Israeli actions, proclaiming that Israel has the right to defend itself.

"What of the rights of the Palestinian people to security and defence and a peaceful future?

"Let us send a very clear message today from this march and rally that the vast majority of the Irish people reject the aggression of Israel and support the Palestinian people in their struggle for freedom and justice and national rights."

Ahmad Abdelrazek, the Palestinian Ambassador to Ireland, attended the march after receiving an invitation from Sinn Féin.

It has been 33 years since the Hunger Strike in 1981 at the Maze Prison where 10 republicans died.

The men went on hunger strike demanding political prisoner status.

In her speech, Ms Gildernew said those who lost their lives would be remembered for their dignity and courage.

Earlier this week, the controversial march had restrictions placed on it by the Parades Commission. It ruled that paramilitary-style clothing should not be worn and flags, bannerettes and symbols relating to proscribed organisations should not be displayed.

It also said musical instruments should not bear any inscription to an illegal organisation or depict weaponry of any kind.

The commission said it considered the "divergent and symbolic meaning" of the parade for both those in support and those against the event.

There had been calls for the event to be called off with those opposed to it branding it "insensitive".

However, there was no protest staged on Sunday.

Kenny Donaldson, of South East Fermanagh Foundation, said: "The glorification of terrorism is a toxic disease which is endemic within our Society.

"The UK and R.O.I political systems must get real about eradicating glorification of terrorism practises through introducing stronger and more robust legislation which actively thwarts such practices and which enables the prosecution of those breaching the law. SEFF will continue campaigning in this regard."

Meanwhile, UK Labour Party leader Ed Miliband has called on the Government to tell Israel that its actions in Gaza are "unacceptable and unjustifiable".

On Saturday night, Downing Street responded sharply as Mr Miliband accused Prime Minister David Cameron of "silence" over the suffering of Palestinian civilians.

In a marked ratcheting up of political division on the issue, the Opposition leader said earlier in the day that the Prime Minister was "wrong" not to oppose Israel's incursion into Gaza, adding: "His silence on the killing of hundreds of innocent Palestinian civilians caused by Israel's military action will be inexplicable to people across Britain and internationally."

A spokesman for Number 10 responded: "The Prime Minister has been clear that both sides in the Gaza conflict need to observe a ceasefire. We are shocked that Ed Miliband would seek to misrepresent that position and play politics with such a serious issue."

In a radio interview on Sunday, Mr Miliband suggesting that Mr Cameron was out of step with public feeling in the UK.

He told BBC Radio 4's World This Weekend: "The Government needs to send a much clearer message to Israel that its actions in Gaza are unacceptable and unjustifiable.

"What I want to hear from David Cameron that he believes that Israel's actions in Gaza are wrong and unjustified, and we haven't heard that from him. I think that's what the British public are thinking as they are seeing these tragic events unfolding on our television screens."

© UTV News
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19 Comments
Dorothy in Kansas wrote (79 days ago):
Dk in Ireland wrote: "our lord doesn't let sin go unpunished." I'd like to see proof of that, because I haven't seen it yet. In fact, what I have seen is, the people who are most put-upon have even more trouble piled on top of them.
Dk in Ireland wrote (80 days ago):
our lord doesn't let sin go unpunished. .Pray for the people of the Gaza strip. .
Harry in Belfast wrote (80 days ago):
Most of the marchers in Derrylin would have bother pointing Gaza out on a world map. Idiots!
Tom in Belfast wrote (80 days ago):
Do we nor have enough of out own problems to deal with without getting invilved woth other peoples? Give it up sf..... Deal with home problems and not get involved in others ..... Pure stipidity
Liam in Lurgan wrote (80 days ago):
Diane woods is the 12th not about triumph? ???
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