Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has welcomed today's Seanad debate on Gaza and criticised the Taoiseach's refusal to recall the Dáil.
Gerry Adams said:
“This morning I spoke again by phone to the Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat. He told me that the schools which have been bombed by the Israel military were agreed as refugee centres by the Israeli government and the UN and that people went there as part of that agreement, only to be bombed later.
“There is a strong view, within Gaza, that is a deliberate strategy by Israeli forces. The UN gave the Israeli government the coordinates of these schools. The Israeli forces knew that they were refugee centres.
“Furthermore, the power station in Gaza has been destroyed by the IDF and the people are now without electricity. The station has received considerable resourcing, funding and support from the EU commission. The EU must show leadership in condemning the destruction of what is a vital humanitarian resource for the besieged people of Gaza.
“The Palestinian Unity Government has asked the UN to declare Gaza a disaster zone. I am calling upon the Irish Government to support this call.
"Since July 8th when the current violence erupted, around 1,300 Palestinians – according to the UN 80% of them civilians – have been killed.
"The Israeli government has shown little inclination for ending the assault, and every evidence of seeking to extend and deepen it.
"In the Irish peace process the international community played a key role in unlocking the conflict.
"The international community has a vital role to play in helping bring an end to this conflict.
"That’s why the government’s decision to abstain in the vote at the UN Human Rights Council to establish an international Commission of Investigation is inexplicable.
"That’s why the Taoiseach’s refusal to recall the Dáil – especially in light of the Seanad debate – is equally inexplicable.
"If the Minister for Foreign Affairs can address the Seanad why is he not able to address the Dáil?
"The Dáil should be recalled immediately to provide the Minister for Foreign Affairs an opportunity to address the Dáil on this important international and humanitarian crisis and explain recent government decisions.
"This would give all TDs from all parties and none to express their view of the conflict and to unite behind the United Nations demand for a ceasefire.
"The Dáil has the opportunity to provide real leadership on the most important international issue of the day. The Taoiseach should reverse his decision."