Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has called for a diplomatic offensive by the Irish Government to encourage the Government of Israel to end it's military onslaught against the civilian population in the Gaza Strip.
Mr Adams welcomed the decision by The Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan to meet the Israeli Ambassador following the escalation of the Israeli Government's military offensive in Gaza but said the time had come to expel the Ambassador.
Speaking today Gerry Adams said:
"Today marks the 17th anniversary of the IRA cessation in 1997. This is a timely reminder of the efficacy of dialogue and inclusive negotiation as an alternative to protracted armed conflict.
"That principle is as applicable today to the situation in the Middle East as it was to Ireland in 1997.
"The decision of the Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan to meet the Israeli Ambassador, following the escalation of the Israeli Government's military onslaught against the besieged population of the Gaza Strip, is welcome.
"However the time has long past for merely expressing concern to a Government that is clearly oblivious to the outrage of the international community at their actions in Gaza.
"Irish citizens have been upset and angered at the ongoing killing of men, women and children in Gaza.
"All armed actions, including attacks from Gaza must stop.
'In 2009, following a fact finding mission to Gaza I published a report which proposed nine immediate steps to help resolve the conflict. They were:
1. All armed actions and acts of violence should cease.
2. An inclusive process of negotiation should commence in which all democratic mandates are respected, clear objectives are set, and there is a fixed timeframe.
3. The building of the separation wall should stop as a first step which would see its demolition.
4. The siege of the Gaza strip should end.
5. An immediate and intensive programme of reconstruction and economic development must commence.
6. The ongoing Israeli colonisation of the West Bank and the building of settlements should stop.
7. The occupation of the West Bank and the denial of freedom of movement to Palestinians in the West Bank and in the Gaza strip, and between the West Bank and Gaza, should end as part of the process to decolonise the West Bank.
8. Mutual and expeditious co-operation between Palestinians and Israelis to enhance public safety and security should commence.
9. UN resolutions and international law should be enforced.
"Five years later, none of these steps have been taken and the situation has deteriorated once again.
"The decision by the Israeli Government, in the face of international anger, to escalate its military offensive by launching a ground offensive requires a firm and resolute response by the Irish Government, which must now expel the Israeli Ambassador.
"The Irish Government should also push for the immediate suspension of the EU’s preferential trade agreements (Israel-EU Association Agreement and Euro-Med Agreement) with Israel."