Irish Time

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Israelis Accuse Irish Investigator in Gaza of Anti-Semitism








An Israeli think tank, has attacked a retired Irish army colonel by the name of Des Travers, from the UN team that investigated the Israeli war on Gaza. The Israeli group accuse him of anti-Semitic prejudice.

The Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs (JCPA), led by Israel’s former ambassador to the U N, Dore Gold, classified Col Travers as “an individual who is not qualified to take part in any serious fact-finding mission” and demanded the UN not to use his services in future.

Desmond Travers was one of four members of a panel led by Richard Goldstone, who was commissioned by the UN to investigate Israeli military operations in Gaza. Col Travers replied that the accusation of anti-Semitism was “derisory and nonsense”. He said that the JCPA accusations “are not new and fall into the sort of category of misrepresentation that they in turn have accused me of”.

Israel refused to co-operate with the UN inquiry, although a number of Israeli human rights groups provided considerable information. After visiting Gaza, questioning many witnesses the team produced a report accusing both Israel and Palestinian militant groups of committing war crimes.The Israeli think tank accuses Col Travers of fundamental anti-Israel bias and quoted him accusing Israeli troops of shooting Palestinian children in front of their parents, and in Lebanon deliberately shooting at members of the Irish peacekeeping force.

The most serious JCPA accusation concerns comments allegedly made by Col Travers in a recent interview where he implied that British foreign policy interests in the Middle East, seemed to be strongly influenced by Jewish lobbyists. According to the JCPA, this statement, “places Travers in a position in which his views are suspect of being motivated by anti-Semitic prejudices”

The attack comes just over a month after the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs was refused permission to visit Gaza in occupied Palestine to see for himself conditions on the ground. Under International law, Israel has no right whatsoever to deny any Irish minister a visit to Palestine to see first-hand the humanitarian crisis that has been created by their war crimes.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh Irish TD, said it is high time that a hard line is taken on the issue. He declared Israel a “rogue, racist and belligerent state”. He said that no Irish minister “with a scintilla of backbone” should allow matters to rest here.

“I am calling on Minister Mícheál Martin to take a stand. It is high time that a hard line is taken on the issue of Israel, to stand out among European and world leaders and to stand up for the people of Palestine".

“He must demand access and make every effort to get to Gaza and Palestine despite what the Israeli authorities say. If the Israeli authorities refuse access again, diplomatic relations should immediately be broken off and the Israeli ambassador sent home.

“He has to make Israel understand that there are consequences for their actions. He must push for immediate action at European level. A start could be made by demanding an end to the special trade relationship that exists between the European Union and Israel.

“Meekly walking away from a major diplomatic insult without a response is tantamount to conniving and colluding in the abuse of the Palestinian people. It cannot and must not be allowed to happen.”





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