Palestinians Send Aid Convoy to Ireland

The Palestinian aid ship, the Tahafut-al-Tahafut, has embarked on an aid mission to Ireland, said the Palestinian-Irish Solidarity Campaign yesterday. The ship, carrying emergency supplies of warm blankets, canned tomatoes, and olives, set sail for Cork to cheers from supporters, who hope that these desperately needed supplies can reach their destination in time.

Palestinian aid ship Tahafut-al-Tahafut prepares to bring vital supplies to Ireland.

Palestinian aid ship Tahafut-al-Tahafut prepares to bring vital supplies to Ireland.

Yasser Said, chairman of the Palestinian-Irish Solidarity Campaign, said, “The Palestinian people have become increasingly concerned about Ireland’s descent into economic chaos and we fear what may happen without international humanitarian assistance. Generally, we emphasise developmental goals with micro-finance loans for the struggling people, but the situation seems particularly critical this winter and we felt more direct aid was necessary.”

“I’m only sorrow we couldn’t send any goat’s milk for the children.”

Whereas Ireland seemed to be making tentative steps towards becoming a fully functioning state in the last decade, the past two years have seen it regress to its traditional Third World status as its economy collapsed under the twin pressures of internal corruption and a global recession.

Palestinians respond to news of Ireland's four-year austerity budget plan.

Palestinians respond to news of Ireland's four-year austerity budget plan.

“The sight of all those poor Irish scattered in ghettoes around the world made tears like waterfalls come to my eyes,” said Amel Jarbuni, a mother of four who lives in an overcrowded tenement building in the Gaza Strip. “I know we don’t have much, ever since my husband died in the Israeli attack in 2008 and what with the embargo and all, but when I see those poor Irish being driven from their homeland to live in ghettoes in Boston, or Vancouver, or Melbourne…” She paused to wipe her eyes and choke back a sob before finishing, “I just felt I had to do something.”

Some Palestinians felt, however, that sending aid was misguided. Bilaal Erekat, a taxi driver who faces hours of Israeli security checks daily in the hope of getting through and maybe earning enough to feed his extended family, said, “Look, I feel for the plight of the Irish as much as anybody, but it’s pointless to give aid to a country with corrupt governance. All that money and food will just be redirected to the families of Fianna Fáil TDs, and the people will get nothing. You know this to be true. I’d love to help, but we can’t really do anything for them until they have a credible government that has been elected in free and fair elections.”

Erekat’s suspicions seemed to be confirmed last night as the conspicuously well-fed Irish Taoiseach Brian Cowen broadcast a statement saying, “The Irish people welcome this shipment from our friends the Palestinians, and on behalf of the Irish people I and a division of Fianna Fáil members will show up to take charge of the shipment.”

“We’ll make sure it goes to the people who want it.”

Aid ships remain closely watched by international bond market gunboats.

Aid ships remain closely watched by international bond market gunboats.

The aid convoy may never reach its destination, however, as international bond markets have strongly condemned the move as inflammatory and illegal. “This aid shipment is in clear breach of Ireland’s legal status as a vassal state of the international bond markets,” said Sir Humphrey Wilkinson, QC, on behalf of his fabulously rich but anonymous clients. “Until Ireland ceases to threaten the international bond markets with its reckless assaults on fiscal probity, we cannot allow aid shipments to pass. These warm blankets and canned tomatoes may well be used to launch further attacks on our financial security. If necessary, we will board the ship in international waters and seize these potential weapons of mass destruction.”

The Palestinian-Irish Solidarity activists refuse to back down, however. “We know the international bond markets and Fianna Fáil are powerful enemies of the Irish people,” said Yasser Said. “But someone has to do something to alleviate their suffering. It’s not their fault that they can’t help themselves. It’s only a small island on the edge of the world; they don’t know any better. We have to reach them somehow.”

“Somehow,” he repeated with grim determination.

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