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Palestine, politicians, and the passion of ordinary Irish people

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Of all the countries in Europe, Palestinians seem to have a special place in their hearts for the people of Ireland.

It was etched into the faces of the young footballers from Gaza when they were guests of honour at a game between Galway United and Dundalk FC two years ago.

What kind of country, they wondered, would allow them to take pride of place on the pitch before a big game featuring the league champions, mingle with the crowd, and even meet the President of Ireland afterwards?

The things that childhood dreams were made of, as they represented their country, their people, with such pride.

There were tears in their eyes when the entire main stand rose to its feet to chant “Stand up for the Gaza boys!” in the second half of an exciting game.

They were made to feel so special.

It was clear from the pride of their coaches when they spent a day in Kinvara. The small rural community had boycotted Israeli goods while the tiny place where they live was being bombed to bits, causing the…