Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has called on the Taoiseach and the Irish Government to end its silence on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and to speak out clearly against any actions which undermine the rights of Palestinians or the objective of a peaceful, two-State solution.
Gerry Adams said:
“The ceasefire and negotiations in Cairo are welcome and everyone hopes that this will lead to a just and sustainable peace in the Middle East.
“However, resolving the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is an international responsibility and unless it uses its influence positively, the region will revert to conflict. Crucially, the international community must uphold international law and defend rights of the Palestinian people.
“The Irish peace process is held up as a model for conflict resolution the world over. But the stance of the Irish Government throughout the recent conflict has been marked by shameful silence, inaction, and when it came to voting at the UN Human Rights Council - abstention.
“The relevance and credibility of our political institutions have been undermined by the Taoiseach’s refusal to reconvene the Dáil to discuss the Gaza crisis. TDs have been prevented from expressing their view of events which have been the subject of discussion by everyone else in the country.
“If the Minister for Foreign Affairs could address the Seanad, why can he not address the Dáil?
“Over the past week, Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat gave me detailed accounts of the situation in Gaza and suggested constructive things Irish politicians could do. The Palestinian Government has asked the UN to declare Gaza a disaster zone. Ireland should support this call.
“The Irish Government must stop its policy of hiding behind the EU on this issue and speak out in its own right. The Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs must demand that the Israeli Government halt the expansion of illegal settlements on Palestinian lands and lift the unjust and inhumane blockade of Gaza.
“The Government needs to encourage the EU to take measures aimed at getting the Israeli Government to end all actions which undermine the rights of the Palestinian people or which threaten a peaceful, two-state solution.”