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Sinn Féin Senator Kathryn Reilly calls on Seanad to discuss crisis in Gaza

17 July, 2014

Sinn Féin Senator and Seanad Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Kathryn Reilly, has called on the Seanad to pay serious attention to the ongoing slaughter of the Palestinian people in Gaza in its extra sitting to take place tomorrow.

Senator Reilly said:

“This Seanad has been scheduled to sit an extra day tomorrow. Why can't we therefore allow time to debate and discuss the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Gaza? Something is seriously wrong when the house pays more lip-service to Garth Brooks than to Israel’s indiscriminate bombing and collective punishment of the people of Gaza.

“As of 10am this morning, there is a tight and fragile five hour cease-fire where Gazans will be racing to markets, shops and banks trying to rescue some semblance of normality after 9 days of a viscous onslaught of attacks on their people. I want to bring attention to my party’s huge concern over the precariousness of this ceasefire.

“The EU Council held a special meeting last night where it discussed Gaza and Israel.

“The European Council states in its conclusions that it ‘condemns the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel and the indiscriminate targeting of civilians’. Were the four children that were targeted and killed on a beach yesterday not an indiscriminate targeting of civilians?

“The EU Council goes onto say that ‘Israel has the right to protect its population from these kind of attacks. In doing so it must act proportionality and ensure the protection of civilians at all times.’

“To put things into context, 227 Gazans have been killed since Israel launched its military operation on 8 July, with the UN stating the majority have been civilians.

“The kind of attacks that have been carried out in the last 9 days have in no way been proportionate or targeted. Gaza is a fenced-in human prison with no escape for people from shelling and bombing.

“All attacks on human life are to be deplored. But the Council’s conclusions are in no way representative or equal in the context of how the Israeli state is operating.

“There needs to be an agreement that not only brings the present carnage to an end but also puts in place arrangements that prevent a fourth bout occurring.

“The arrangements must include, not just a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, but also the ending – of Israel’s economic blockade of Gaza.

“There must be proper mechanisms for monitoring the cease-fire and investigating breaches and for seeing that the blockade is lifted – otherwise Israel will do as it pleases.

“It’s entirely forgotten now by the media and international community that there was an agreement after the last bout of carnage, in November 2012 where 171 Palestinians were killed, which was meant to include the lifting of the blockade on Gaza– but that was never implemented by Israel.

"The crisis in Gaza needs to take precedent and we must send a strong message of solidarity to the people of Palestine."

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