An international videoconference has taken place linking Gaza with Ireland to discuss Palestinian rights and the boycott of Israel. The conference was organised by the Palestinian Campaign for an Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) in partnership with the Palestinian Students' Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI) and the National University of Galway, Ireland. The event was hosted by Al-Quds Bank for Culture and Information, Gaza.
The session was run from Gaza by Dr. Haidar Eid, who spoke about the impact of the current Israeli blockade on everyday life in the Gaza Strip, and the importance of an international boycott of, and sanctions against, the state of Israel. He also dealt with what he sees as the end of the two-state solution, describing it as a "two-prison" solution. The Irish experience of a power-sharing government is something that it might be possible to learn from, he added.
The Irish end of the conference was led by Dr. Ray Murphy, a Senior Law Lecturer at the Irish Centre for Human Rights based at the National University of Galway. Participants included members of Palestinian solidarity committees in Ireland.
Drawing an analogy between the Irish struggle for independence and the Israel-Palestine conflict, Dr. Asaad Abu Sharkh, a lecturer at Azhar University in Gaza, said that lessons can be learnt from the Irish experience. During his speech, Dr. Abu Sharkh looked at the impact of the Israeli blockade and the "genocidal war" being waged against the Palestinians. "It is important to impose sanctions on Israel," he said, "because it is, frankly, a racist state." Academic and cultural boycotts should be used as a weapon against Israel, added Dr. Abu Sharkh.
The conference was attended by academics, activists, journalists, international solidarity activists and university students. All had the opportunity to contribute to the debate.