UCD Students’ Union’s International Student Co-ordinator Karl Gill has strongly condemned ‘Operation Pillar of Cloud’, Israel’s recent assault on Gaza, which began on November 8th 2012. The campaign calls students to sign a petition demanding that the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tánaiste, Eamon Gilmore, denounce these attacks. Gill also calls for the expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador from Ireland.
The petition comes alongside a call from Amnesty UCD for the United Nations to employ an international arms embargo and the immediate deployment of international monitors. They held an event last Thursday, November 22nd, at which a full list of the fatalities from both sides of the conflict were read, and a Gaza flag was hoisted on the flagpoles at the front gates of UCD for a number of minutes.
Gill says he considers this action “urgent” because “there have been talks of a ground invasion in Gaza, and for the last two weeks, Gaza has come under heavy rocket fire. The massive escalation of killings in the Gaza strip has led to the deaths of at least 125 innocent people.”
As well as the petition and Amnesty UCD’s efforts, Gill plans to bring a motion forward at the next UCDSU Council to call on the SU to condemn the attack. This motion will be voted on by the members of Council to determine whether or not the SU will take such an action.
The petition has been initiated in response to a statement made by Eamon Gilmore that indicated, according to Gill, that “the fault lies partially with the Palestinians.” The petition recognises that this attack isn’t a “conflict of two evils. Rather it’s a slaughter of innocent people.”
Gill states that: “The people of Gaza, and their democratically elected government [the Hamas party], have every right to resist these attacks and their on-going oppression.” Israel has been quick to justify their assault on Gaza as a response to Hamas aggression, but Gill notes that this justification is “rubbish…in the context of continued occupation.”
“Ireland is in the unique position where we just won a seat at the UN Council of Human Rights’ and will have the Presidency of the EU in January which again will give us another opportunity to raise this at an international level,” says Gill.
Gill also calls for the boycott of Israeli goods “as a way of showing international opposition to the actions of Israel.” He suggests that we follow the Students’ Unions in the UK and US who “have already passed motions in support of boycott campaigns. Concerned students should put motions into Students’ Unions to oppose this assault on human rights,” adding that he is in the process of doing so at the moment.
Signatures to the petition calling Gilmore to condemn Israel’s attacks will be collected at stalls in the UCD Student Centre over the next few weeks.