Fianna Fáil Seanad Leader Senator Darragh O’Brien says he’ll be calling on the Minister for Foreign Affairs to put more pressure on the EU to intervene to secure an immediate ceasefire in Israel and Gaza.
The Seanad is reconvening tomorrow afternoon to discuss the escalating violence in the region and to show solidarity for the civilians who are caught in a war zone.
Senator O’Brien commented, “What is going on is absolute carnage and against all international legal obligations. How many more people have to die before there is direct international intervention? The time for platitudes is well gone .Children are being murdered on an hourly basis in Gaza. Describing it as ‘appalling and devastating’ is not enough.
“The EU has done nothing concrete to tackle the Israel/Gaza crisis; European leaders appear to be content to sit on the side-lines while hundreds of people, mostly innocent civilians, are being killed. Only last week EU member states abstained from a UN vote to establish a commission of inquiry into human rights violations in Gaza and condemning Israel for potential violations of international law. I believe the Government’s decision to abstain was wrong and sent the wrong signal from the Irish people.
“Yesterday saw the largest death toll in the region since this latest bout of aggression broke out, with at least 67 Palestinians losing their lives during sustained air strikes. This morning I was appalled to learn that 19 people died after Israeli forces hit a UN school in Jebalya in northern Gaza, where thousands of people had been taking refuge.
“This is the 6th time that UN schools have been targeted by the Israelis in the past three weeks, and earlier this week eight children and two adults were killed in an attack on a playground. These actions must be condemned in the strongest possible terms, but to date, the European community has stood back and refused to take action. International law has not only been broken but ripped apart and there has to be consequences.
“Tomorrow, Minister Charlie Flanagan will be questioned about his Government’s decision to abstain from the UN vote and to explain what discussions he’s had with his European counterparts to intervene to try and resolve the conflict. I will also be asking how much more humanitarian aid can the government donate to relieve the families in the Gaza region”, Senator O’Brien added.
“The EU needs to step up to the mark and play a more active role in this crisis. An immediate ceasefire on both sides must be forthcoming in order to alleviate the humanitarian situation. It is incumbent upon the Irish government in co-operation with our EU partners as part of a broader international effort to stabilise the situation and drive on the peace process. The government has to live up to its international obligations, the Irish people demand it”.