Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Brendan Smith TD, has condemned the resumption of violence in Gaza following failed negotiations to extend the original humanitarian ceasefire between Hamas and Israel.
Deputy Smith also strongly criticised the large number of rockets which were fired from Gaza towards Israel after a 72-hour ceasefire expired at 8am local time.
“Over the past number of weeks the Fianna Fáil Party have strongly and consistently condemned the actions of the Israeli Defence Forces in their attacks on innocent people in Gaza resulting in huge loss of life and suffering for so many. Fianna Fáil have always advocated for the lifting of the blockade on Gaza and a full return to peaceful negotiations with the aim of establishing a two-state solution based on pre-1967 borders. In recent weeks, the world has witnessed the slaughter of innocent people in Gaza and a new low was reached when UN schools and refugee centres were attacked by Israeli forces.
“There is a need for peace, not a resumption of violence. This is very tragic news coming from Gaza today and begins another period of attacks which will result in the killing of innocent civilians from both sides of the conflict. I condemn in the strongest terms the rockets fired at Israeli targets ending the humanitarian ceasefire which began three days ago.
“The Irish Government and the European Union must seek to influence both Israel and Hamas in exercising restraint. In particular, schools and refugee camps run by the United Nations must not be targeted in any way. The international community must raise its voice in objection to any such attacks by either side in this conflict. Work must also continue by those who can initiate a pathway to peace to build on the discussions already begun in Egypt.
“I along with many Irish citizens will be taking part in anti-war demonstrations across Ireland at the weekend. Ireland has had a long interest in the challenges in the Middle East and has always acted out of experience from our own troubled history and out of an over-riding respect for and belief in human rights for all people across the world. Successive Fianna Fáil Minsters for Foreign Affairs have consistently spoken out in favour of a peaceful, equitable and a fair and lasting settlement in the Middle-East. We have always championed the causes of oppressed countries in the world at the United Nations and in other international fora.
“The world and in particular Europe must ensure that the current conflict in the Middle East does not result in any anti-Semitic behaviour occurring in our countries. There have been some very disturbing reports of rising anti-Semitic behaviour in Europe. All right thinking people deplore anti-Semitism. It must not be tolerated in any of its forms in society. Let the message go out from Ireland that we are for peace, human rights and equality in the Middle East. We are not a country engaged in anti-Semitic behaviour and any suggestion of same could only be seen for the outrageous comment that it is.”