Palestinian ambassador receives standing ovation at Sinn Fein conference

The Palestinian ambassador to Ireland, Dr Jilan Wahba Abdalmajid has expressed gratitude to Irish people “for being so vocal on the side of justice”.

Dr Wahba Abdalmajid comments came as part of her keynote speech at Sinn Fein’s annual ard fheis in Athlone, Co Westmeath.

Thanking the people of Ireland, she said: “You never fail to hear our call for freedom.”

The ambassador said the international community has failed Palestinians “for decades”.

“It has allowed Israel to continue its horrific aggression against our people with impunity and in grave violation of international and humanitarian law.

“Israel must be held accountable for the war crimes committed in Gaza and the West Bank, including in Jerusalem.”

The ambassador said “political and moral failure” has led to the conflict in Gaza.

She said: “Almost 11,000 people and 500 children, including members of my own family, have been killed in the past five weeks.”

Dr Wahba Abdalmajid described Gaza as “hell on earth” as she criticised the targeting of hospitals, schools and bakeries.

“This is beyond rage and revenge. Now, there is no safe place in Gaza. There is hardly shelter, food, water or fuel.

“Neither peace nor security can prevail while the rights of Palestinians are denied.”

Dr Wahba Abdalmajid received a standing ovation following her speech at the Sinn Fein conference, and was embraced by party president Mary Lou McDonald and vice president Michelle O’Neill as well as former leader Gerry Adams.

Sinn Fein has called for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador to Ireland and is also bringing a motion to the Dublin parliament seeking a referral of Israel to the International Criminal Court by Ireland.

The party’s spokesman on foreign affairs, Matt Carthy, said: “It is time again for Ireland to make a stand in defence of international law and we hope and expect to receive all-party support for this important motion.”

He told the conference that there must be consequences for “Israel’s deliberate targeting and killing of thousands of civilians”.

He condemned the Hamas attack on October 7 and called for the release of all hostages.

However, he said “history did not begin on October 7”, adding that it did not provide justification for the “war crimes committed by Israel every day since”.

Mr Carthy led the conference in a chant of “in our thousands and or millions, we are all Palestinians” as delegates rose to their feet to welcome the ambassador to the stage.