- 13 May 20
Brian Eno, Roger Waters, Massive Attack, Irvine Welsh and Steve Coogan have also signed the open letter.
Christy Moore, Stephen Rea, Lankum, Mary Black, Liam Cunningham, Frances Black, Sinéad Cusack, Colm Tóibín, Donal Lunny, Kevin Barry and Anne Enright are among the Irish cultural figures who have backed Amnesty International’s call for a military embargo on Israel “until it fully complies with its obligations under international law” and for the rights of Palestinian refugees to be upheld.
The Irish cultural figures are among more than 240 musicians, actors, filmmakers, authors and others from around the world, including Brian Eno, Roger Waters, Massive Attack, Irvine Welsh, Steve Coogan and Maxine Peake, calling for an end to Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip amid the coronavirus crisis in an open letter.
Commenting on the letter, Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign Chairperson, Ms. Fatin Al Tamimi thanked the signatories.
"As we Palestinians commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the Nakba this week, it is truly heartening to see so many Irish and international cultural figures call for an end to the cruel and illegal siege of Gaza, for an arms embargo on Israel and for the right of the Palestinian refugee to return," she said. "We thank them all for their support and solidarity in these critical times for Palestinians."
The first cases of coronavirus in blockaded Gaza were reported in March. Palestinian, Israeli and international humanitarian and human rights organisations have called for the lifting of Israel’s siege so that Gaza can address its severe shortages of medical equipment.
Read the full letter below:
"Long before the global outbreak of COVID-19 threatened to overwhelm the already devastated healthcare system in Gaza, the UN had predicted that the blockaded coastal strip would be unliveable by 2020. With the pandemic, Gaza’s almost two million inhabitants, predominantly refugees, face a mortal threat in the world’s largest open-air prison.
"Two years ago today Israeli snipers killed sixty Palestinian men, women and children in Gaza, with total impunity. The overwhelmingly peaceful Great March of Return weekly mass demonstrations, currently on hold due to the threat of coronavirus, were met with brutal violence.
"Well before the ongoing crisis, Gaza's hospitals were already stretched to breaking point through lack of essential resources denied by Israel’s siege. Its healthcare system could not cope with the thousands of gunshot wounds, leading to many amputations.
"Reports of the first cases of coronavirus in densely-populated Gaza are therefore deeply disturbing. As several health professionals recently wrote: 'Epidemics (and indeed, pandemics) are disproportionately violent to populations burdened by poverty, military occupation, discrimination & institutionalised oppression.'
"Yet Israel’s blockade impedes the flow of medical supplies, personnel and fundamental humanitarian aid. International pressure is urgently needed to make life in Gaza liveable and dignified. Israel's siege must be ended. And most urgently, a potentially devastating outbreak must be prevented.
"What happens in Gaza is a test for the conscience of humanity. We back Amnesty International’s call on all world governments to impose a military embargo on Israel until it fully complies with its obligations under international law. We recognise that the rights guaranteed to refugees by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights must be upheld for Palestinians as well.
"In these times of international crisis, we must stand for justice, peace, freedom, and equal rights for all, regardless of identity or creed. We may be staying at home, but our ethical responsibility shouldn’t."