Irish-Palestinian man reunited with family after Gaza escape

Zak Hania said: 'Ireland is in my heart, as is Palestine' as he arrived in Dublin

Zak Hania (centre) and his wife Batoul and their four children after being reunited at Dublin Airport. PA
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An Irish-Palestinian man who was prevented from leaving Gaza in November was reunited with his family in Ireland on Saturday.

Zak Hania arrived on a flight from Cairo after making it out of Gaza via Rafah.

As he left Dublin Airport he embraced his wife and four children and dropped to his knees to kiss the ground.

“I have love and respect for this land,” he said. “Ireland is in my heart, as is Palestine.

“I don't have enough words to thank you and to thank all the people who are going to the streets [to protest] and being in the streets for a long time, and all the people who are making every effort to support the people in Gaza and to support Palestine and trying to stop this brutal genocide.

“I think Israel has taken off their mask and they are showing their real face.

“And we are, as human beings, we are showing our true humanity, and our determination to stop this crime and to be united all together, all of humanity, to be united to stop this crime.”

Mr Hania's wife, Batoul, and their Irish-born sons, Mazen, Ismael, Ahmed and Nour, were able to leave Gaza via the Rafah border last November and are now living in Dublin.

He was not accepted on to the list of evacuees and was left inside Gaza.

Ms Hania and her sons spent the intervening months campaigning on his behalf and lobbying Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs for help.

Mr Hania had previously said he was afraid he would never see his family again.

In Dublin, students at Trinity College have staged occupations to protest against Israel's war in Gaza, joining a wave of demonstrations sweeping US campuses.

The Dublin students built an encampment on Friday that forced the university to restrict campus access on Saturday and close the Book of Kells exhibition, one of Ireland's top tourist attractions.

The protesters want Trinity to cut academic ties with Israel and divest from companies with ties to the country.

Updated: May 04, 2024, 10:04 PM