Palestinian man arrested for allegedly helping Irish nationalist group

The man's lawyer said the accused doctor from the West Bank is involved in peaceful activism and was entrapped by British intelligence.

al-monitor An unidentified girl walks past a portion of a mural on Falls Road Aug. 20, 2002, in west Belfast, Northern Ireland. Photo by Cathal McNaughton/Getty Images.

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palestinian-israeli conflict, united kingdom, terrorist organizations, ireland, palestinian cause

Aug 27, 2020

A Palestinian man was arrested in Scotland on terrorism charges related to his alleged involvement with an Irish nationalist group, British media outlets reported this week, though his lawyers claim he was entrapped.

A man from Northern Ireland is accused of recruiting a Palestinian doctor living in Scotland to help an Irish Republican Army (IRA) group cultivate relations with governments “hostile to the UK,” the Belfast Telegraph reported on Tuesday. Their arrests are part of a British intelligence operation against the Irish organization.

Several Irish nationalist groups use the name of the IRA. One of their goals is ending British rule in northern Ireland. This area is part of the United Kingdom and separate from the Republic of Ireland, which encompasses the rest of the Irish isle. The IRA, along with British forces and militias loyal to the UK, were responsible for considerable violence during the conflict known as "The Troubles" that ended in 1998.

Many Irish nationalists sympathize with the Palestinian cause. Some Irish republicans, as they are also known, believe Palestinians fight an anti-colonial struggle against Israel similar to that of the Irish against the UK. In 2018, the Irish Senate passed a bill banning imports from Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The Palestinian doctor faces a terrorism charge for allegedly attending an IRA meeting. He was arrested at a London airport on Saturday, according to the Belfast Telegraph, which cited court documents.

However, the doctor’s lawyer said his client was entrapped and that a British intelligence officer lured him to the meeting under false pretenses, The Irish News reported on Wednesday. The Palestinian man is from the West Bank and is involved in nonviolent, pro-Palestine activism in Scotland, his lawyer told the outlet.

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