Galway will be addressed by a citizen of Gaza this afternoon as part of a Palestine solidarity event which takes place in Eyre Square. Meanwhile businesses in Kinvara have also started to boycott Israeli goods.
The NUI Galway Palestine Solidarity Society will hold a vigil today at 5pm in Eyre Square. The event will hear several speeches, including a live phone call from a resident in Gaza, which will be broadcast to those present.
The event follows the Egyptian brokered 72-hour ceasefire which came into effect earlier today at 6am Irish time. According to a senior Egyptian official on Monday: “Egypt’s contacts with relevant parties have achieved a commitment for a 72-hour truce in Gaza starting from 0500 GMT tomorrow morning, and an agreement for the rest of the relevant delegations to come to Cairo to conduct further negotiations." The Israeli government accepted the proposal, but “with a certain amount of scepticism”.
The ceasefire follows almost a month of rocket launches by Hamas and attacks on Gaza by the Israeli military which escalated from air and naval barrages to overland incursions centred on Gaza’s tunnel-riddled eastern frontier, but also pushed into densely populated towns.
The violence has led to the deaths of 1,834 Palestinians, the vast majority of them civilians, with more than a quarter of Gaza’s 1.8 million residents displaced, and some 3,000 homes destroyed or damaged. Israel has lost 64 soldiers and three civilians.
Recently, both the Galway county and city councils supported motions calling for the Israeli military to stop its attack on Gaza. The county council went one step further with councillors declaring their support for the Boycott, Divest, Sanction campaign against Israel.
Members of the Kinvara business community responded to this during the weekend by pledging to support the growing boycott of Israeli produce. The idea emerged from numerous conversations at local level, leading to an appeal to relevant local businesses by Kinvara residents John Griffin, Frank Naughton, and Vicky Donnelly.
“Like most people, we were sickened by the carnage we were seeing on our screens, and felt helpless to do anything until we decided to approach all the relevant businesses in our community to support the boycott of Israeli produce,” said Mr Griffiin. “The fact we’ve had such a positive response sends out a strong message of solidarity.”
Kinvara retailers, cafés, restaurants, and salons have all pledged their support for the campaign. It is understood to be the first boycott of its kind and has been welcomed by the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
“We salute and congratulate the people of Kinvara for taking this stand for justice for Palestinians,” said Kevin O’Shea of the IPSD. “We can already see other towns and villages around the country taking a similar stand.”
In a further show of solidarity with Gaza, there will be a march and protest on Friday August 8 in Ballinasloe. The march will assemble at the arches of St Josephs Place, Brackernagh at 5.30pm and march to St Michael's Square. The march will be addressed by Sinn Féin councillor Dermot Connolly and Treasa Ni Cheannabhain.