Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Niall Collins has condemned the attacks yesterday in Gaza as an atrocious assault on humanity.

“As of this morning, 61 people have lost their lives with many more in a critical state. This attack by Israel was disproportionate and could have been preventable.  I have conveyed by sympathies to the Palestinian Ambassador to Ireland on the loss of so many lives.

“A UN-led inquiry is urgently needed. The European Union and the United Nations cannot stand back and let this further escalate.

“Fianna Fáil supports the right of Israel to exist but it must be able to exist in harmony with its neighbours.

“Under the current Israeli Government, there has been a hardening of positions, with little appetite for dialogue with Palestinian leaders.

“Israel is a major military power; but it must use its military might sparingly and wisely.

“The polished media blitz emanating from the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem could not have been further away from the harrowing scenes in Gaza.

“There must be an acceptance by Israel that while it has a right to defend itself, it must do so in a way that does not compromise the civil and human rights of the Palestinian people.

“A two-state solution is the only long term, viable way forward. Those in the Palestinian leadership who want to see a peaceful future must wrestle away the hand of Hamas from the Palestinian rudder. This will take bravery from those in the PLO but it’s the only way forward.

“All the hand wringing in the world will not solve this issue. Those of us in the European Union who desperately want a peaceful Middle East must be willing to step up to the mark to act as a counterbalancing force to the one-sided approach of the current US administration.

“The Trump Administrations is now part of the problem. It has a blinkered view of the Middle East that must be counteracted by a balanced EU response,” concluded Collins.