Following the recent escalation of the conflict between Palestine and Israel, and the brutal and indiscriminate violence enacted by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians, the Workers’ Party is calling for the expulsion of Dana Erlich, the Israeli ambassador to Ireland.

The Ministry of Health in Gaza has reported over 6,000 fatalities, including as many as 471 from the Israeli bombing of a Palestinian hospital. It is clear that Israel does not wish to follow international law in this conflict. This is evident not only from their bombing of the hospital and other attacks targeting Palestinian civilians, but also from their continued expansion of the illegal settlements in Palestinian territories. Additionally, that the Israeli apartheid state has vowed to “teach the UN lesson” is another worrying development.

Israel has blocked aid from reaching Palestinians, including fuel for the UN. This is despite the UN warning that the fuel was needed in order to continue their humanitarian efforts in Gaza. Additionally, a video circulating on social media has shown Israeli armed forces blocking a hospital from reaching Palestinians in need of medical aid. These are not isolated incidents.

Although some will wish to sit on the fence and simply claim that both sides are as bad as each other, it should be clear that this is not the case. Israel is an occupying force with the capability, as it is currently demonstrating, to make the lives of Palestinians a living hell. It is a state with the backing and support of the United States. It is illegally occupying Palestinian land and denying the Palestinian people their right to nationhood. There is no real comparison to be made between the two sides: one is fighting for nationhood while the other is fighting to suppress that right. To suggest otherwise would be akin to suggesting that the Irish republican movement of the revolutionary period was just as bad as the occupying British forces simply on the basis that both committed violent acts.

All progressive-minded Irish people and organisations have a duty to pressure their state to expel the Israeli ambassador. As was the case during the apartheid era in South Africa, international pressure has a role to play in the righting of this wrong.