EDINBURGH/DUBLIN, August 5 (RIA Novosti), Mark Hirst – Campaigners and politicians in Scotland and Ireland have attacked their respective governments alleging they are “hiding behind” the EU rather than criticizing the Israeli military offensive in Gaza.
“The Irish government’s response to the slaughter of civilians in Gaza was to abstain in a crucial vote at the UN Human Rights Council. This has been used by Israeli spokespersons as evidence of EU support for Israeli actions,” Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, who is a member of the Irish Parliament, Dáil Éireann told RIA Novosti.
“The Taoiseach [The Irish Prime Minister] has also refused to recall the Dáil to discuss this appalling humanitarian disaster and to support the UN. This is unacceptable,” Adams said.
“So far the Irish government has been shamefully silent and has hidden behind the EU rather than speak out in its own right,” the lawmaker added.
The weekend witnessed a series of mass demonstrations and protests across Ireland and Scotland opposing Israeli military action in Gaza which has claimed over 1,860 lives and wounded an estimated 9,470 people, most of those civilians. Sixty seven Israelis have been killed in the conflict, including 64 soldiers, two Israeli civilians and a Thai national.
In Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, Palestinian campaigners stretched the length of the capital’s main thoroughfare, Princess Street, calling for an end to what they described as a “civilian massacre” in Gaza.
Mick Napier, Secretary of the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign told RIA Novosti, “We’ve been involved in holding demonstrations against Israeli massacres for a very long time, but the anger this time is unprecedented.
“Israel appears to have fallen into quicksand and every time they commit another massacre they slip deeper and deeper into that quicksand,” Napier added.
Asked by RIA Novosti whether he thought Scottish Ministers were doing enough to oppose Israeli action, Napier said, “There is a real anger and revulsion at the role of the Scottish Government and their response is just not good enough.
“The Scottish Government’s External Affairs Minister, Humza Yousaf, recently told a Zionist meeting in Glasgow that he vowed that his government would oppose the boycott, divestment and sanctions call being made by Palestinians and other international groups including Israeli peace activists,” Napier stressed.
“Even worse Yousaf said that the Scottish Government’s foreign policy would be virtually identical to that of Westminster. That is sending ripples of anger and dismay through large sections of the population in Scotland,” he said.
The Scottish Government last week authorized the release of $840,000 (£500,000) of humanitarian aid to be sent to the region, but a spokeswoman for the Scottish Government again rejected calls for a boycott and sanctions against Israel.
“We believe that engagement with the Israeli Government provides us with an opportunity to call for a peaceful resolution between both sides of the conflict and present any concerns the Scottish Government may have,” Gillian Provan, spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said.