THE record of Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael in its two-party dominance of Irish politics  has not been a proud one down through the years and those in the North on the wrong end of their serial bad faith and cowardice over the national question have never been slow to criticise them.

But the record of the current coalition government on the Gaza slaughter has been a proud and courageous one with Ireland being one of the first countries to call for a ceasefire and break the Western consensus that Israel has the right to do whatever it pleases in its response to the October 7 Hamas atrocities.

On Tuesday the government went even further, with Higher Education Minister Simon Harris, standing in for Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the Dáil, pulling no punches in the wake of the ongoing war crimes being perpetrated by Israel, particularly at the Al Shifa hospital, where even premature babies have lost their lives on the orders of the fanatics in Tel Aviv.

Minister Harris told the Dáil: “You cannot build peace on the mass graves of children,” a brutal truth that shames other European governments that not only refuse to stand up to Israel, but which lack the spine even to call for a ceasefire. The truth is, of course, that Israel knows full well that it is storing up generations of anger and resistance through the carnage it is inflicting on the people of Gaza. But then the words of the Israel Government prove that even they do not believe the lie they pump out for global consumption: that Israel is intent on obliterating Hamas – that is a stone-cold impossibility. What we are seeing are the land clearances that Israel has long wished for being ruthlessly prosecuted and prosecuted with raw fury and vengefulness.

Mr Harris made that very point when he said Israel has become “blinded by rage” in a “war on children” that many would see as “revenge” and if there’s one thing that he, his government and the Irish people can be sure of it is that the Israeli government will bring its massive PR resources and its extensive network of political and media cheerleaders to bear in an attempt to bully and isolate in retaliation. We’ve seen that happening in spades already, with Israeli spokespersons of various seniority being given huge broadcasting and media platforms to launch unacceptable attacks on those who dare to comment honestly on what they’re seeing before their eyes. Indeed, the most jaw-dropping instance of that was directed at Ireland when Israel’s Heritage Minister Amihai Eliyahu discussed the possibility of dropping a nuclear bomb on Gaza and added for good measure that the Palestinian people “can go to Ireland or deserts, the monsters in Gaza should find a solution by themselves”.

As punishment for this frankly unhinged outburst, Eliyahu was not sacked, but rather asked to stay away from Cabinet meetings, no doubt to be quietly reinstated when the time is right. That is what Palestinians are faced with; that is what faces those who speak up for them.