Months After Calling for Expulsion of Israel’s Ambassador from Dublin, Irish Republican Leader Gerry Adams Flies To Tel Aviv
Gerry Adams, the president of the Irish Republican Sinn Fein party and a member of the Irish parliament, is on his way to Tel Aviv to begin a three-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian areas.
Irish website Newstalk reported that Adams will meet with Israeli Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog as well as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Adams has also been invited to visit Gaza by UNRWA, the UN agency dedicated solely to Palestinian refugees and their descendants.
Adams’ visit to the region is significant given the historic support of Sinn Fein for the Palestinian cause. The military wing of Sinn Fein, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) – which Adams has repeatedly denied being a member of, despite claims to the contrary from several leading journalists as well as Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny – was backed by, among others, Colonel Gadhafi’s regime in Libya. The IRA formally ended its terrorist campaign against Britain in 2005, when the Northern Ireland conflict was resolved by a power-sharing agreement.
Adams has been a visceral critic of Israel. During Israel’s war against the Hamas regime in Gaza over the summer, the Sinn Fein leader called for the expulsion of Israel’s Ambassador from Dublin.
Addressing the Irish parliament in July, Adams declared: “The Israeli assault on this besieged community is an act of collective punishment against a civilian population which has left 200 people, mostly civilians and children, dead and many more injured. The Palestinian people have been robbed of their land, imprisoned by separation walls and borders into ghettoes, Gaza has been under siege for seven years and they have little power or influence. Israel by comparison is a first world, highly developed, rich and heavily armed super-state with nuclear weapons.”
Prior to leaving Dublin, Adams revived a set of proposals from his last visit to the region, after the 2008-09 war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas. Among the measures he advocates is the “demolition” of the security barrier separating Israel from the West Bank and an end to what he describes as the “ongoing Israeli colonization of the West Bank.”
Eamonn MacDonagh, an Irish journalist who has written extensively on what he regards as the flawed analogy between the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, told The Algemeiner that it would be hard for Israelis to regard Adams as an honest broker, given his past statements.
“It’s interesting to see Gerry Adams being attacked on social media as a ‘Zionist’ simply for setting foot in Israel,” MacDonagh said. “However, his message isn’t new, and he’s using the situation of the Palestinians to make political capital at home.”
MacDonagh added that “Israelis have no reason to take Adams at face value, given his continual depictions of Israel as a colonizing power and his lack of sympathy for Israeli victims of terrorism.”