Archive for the ‘Gaza’ Category

The Gaza Debate…

February 5, 2009


On the 5th of February, the Phil gathered to debate the motion “That This House Believes That Israeli Actions in Gaza are Just and Proportionate”. With such a controversial issue, the debate was intensely heated, with speakers passionately defending the actors on both sides of the conflict. Student speaker Dave Barrett spoke first for the proposition, insisting that the deaths of Palestinian civilians was a sadly unavoidable consequence of war. He was followed by Jonathan Wyse (Debates Convenor), who claimed this was not the case. The evening’s first guest speaker, Tom Carew of the Ireland-Israel Friendship League, painted a picture of the conflict from his perspective, while the Palestinian Ambassador to Ireland, Dr Hikmap Ajuri, told a different story, insisting that Israel alone was in the wrong.

Brendan Curran (Secretary) questioned the objectivity of most sources of information on the conflict, pointing out that nearly all forms of media reporting on it have a biased perspective. Next, maiden speaker Keith Grehan told us the Israelis were fighting a psychological war, which he considered unjustifiable. Alan Shatter, TD, disagreed with Keith, claiming that the real harms in the region were being perpetuated by Hamas, not Israel. Alannah nic Phaidin questioned the validity of Israel’s actions, pointing out that Judaism is a religion founded on peaceful principles. She was followed by John Engle, who told us that Palestinian casualties were often unfortunate but inevitable, and Sinead Waldron (MC), who expressed fear that a cycle of violence will continue in the region. A second maiden speaker, Caitlin Sherry, maintained that Israel had a right to defend its borders. Finally, Edward Gaffney (ex-Secretary) gave a speech attempting to summarise both sides of the argument, and concluded that it is extremely difficult to value one actor over the other, but that civilian deaths should not be seen as an inevitable side-effect of the conflict.

In a tight vote, the motion was defeated.