Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has today called on the Irish Government to use its full Diplomatic strength to force the Government of Israel to comply with international law and end the collective punishment against the people of Gaza.
Deputy McDonald, speaking during Leaders Questions today with the Tánaiste, noted the urgency of the ongoing and spiralling crisis in Gaza.
Deputy McDonald said:
“In the last two days the Israeli Defence Forces have killed 50 people and wounded more than 500 in relentless shelling of Gaza.
“Their claim that they are attacking Palestinian military targets is a lie.
“They are attacking family homes.
“They are attacking refugee camps.
“They are killing women and children.
“And as if this brutality is not enough they are now threatening a full scale military invasion of Gaza.
“For years the people of Gaza have been subjected to an illegal and brutal blockade.
“They are now being subjected to collective punishment by the Israeli government.
“They are targeting women and children.
“This is not acceptable.
“It is not acceptable to kidnap and kill Israeli teenagers.
“It is not acceptable to kidnap and kill Palestinian children.
“And it is not acceptable for the Israeli government to pound Gaza –one of the most densely populated places in the world- with hundreds of tons of explosives in a matter of days.
“The firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel should end.
“But these actions cannot excuse the application of overwhelming military force by the Israeli government against a civilian population.
“Given the seriousness of the situation and the very real possibility that Israeli aggression against the Palestinian civilian population will escalate, it is time for your Government to take a more hands on approach.
“In March 2013 the EU Heads of Mission in Jerusalem published a report accusing the Israeli government’s flouting of international law.
“The report found that the Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the west bank are ‘the biggest single threat to the two state solution.’
“The EU report accused the Israeli government of implementing a settlement policy that is ‘systematic, deliberate and provocative.’”
“Diplomatic pressure must be brought to bear to bring this violence to an end and to open the way for talks."