The Fianna Fáil politician has offered his reaction to the latest Gaza airstrike.
Tánaiste Micheál Martin has released an official statement on the ongoing situation in Gaza, Palestine.
This comes after an Israeli strike in the densely populated Jabalya refugee camp in the north of Gaza.
Even before that incident, Craig Mokhiber, the director of the New York office for the UN’s refugee agency had penned a resignation later and blamed the organisation for failing to prevent ‘mass atrocities’. He wrote:
‘As someone who has investigated human rights in Palestine since the 1980s, lived in Gaza as a UN human rights advisor in the 1990s, and carried out several human rights missions to the country before and since, this is deeply personal to me
‘In Gaza, civilian homes, schools, churches, mosques, and medical institutions are wantonly attacked as thousands of civilians are massacred. In the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, homes are seized and reassigned based entirely on race, and violent settler pogroms are accompanied by Israeli military units. Across the land, apartheid rules.’
The Israeli strike on the Jabalya refugee camp caused catastrophic damage and killed a large number of people, prompting this response from the Tánaiste:
Death toll continues to rise in Gaza
It’s believed the air-strike was intended to kill a Hamas commander. Jabalya, like many other refugee camps in the Strip, is crowded with homes, shops, and apartment buildings.
A statement by the Israel Defense Forces says the airstrike targeted and killed Ibrahim Biari.
It goes on to say that Biari was responsible for an attack on Israel in early October which killed over 1,400 people with hundreds more taken hostage.
Tánaiste Micheál Martin reacts to Gaza news
Micheál Martin opens the statement by saying he is “deeply shocked” by the number of casualties following the air strike. He goes on to clarify Ireland’s stance on Israel’s use of force in the Gaza region:
“Ireland has made clear on many occasions that Israel’s right to defend itself must be within the parameters of International Humanitarian Law. The law of war always applies.”
Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry says 50 people were killed in the strike with approximately 150 wounded. However a nearby hospital says it received around 400 casualties, including 120 dead.
Last month Micheál Martin insisted that the protection of civilians has to be the centre of work towards a “just and sustainable peace”.
This latest statement on Gaza echoes that, and calls for an immediate ceasefire. The Tánaiste says that access to vital supplies for citizens in Gaza should also be scaled up.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar called for similar outcomes at a summit in Brussels, last week. The summit was dominated by talk of the Middle East and both short and long-term solutions for the innocent civilians in Gaza. Varadkar had this to say on the topic:
“What Hamas wants is an escalation They want to see this conflict spread to the wider region. And there are other people, quite frankly, in other parts of the world who would like to see that too, because it would take focus off Ukraine.
“So it’s very important that we don’t fall into that trap.”
“Ireland will be making a strong case that there should be a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza,” he added, “an opportunity for us to get humanitarian aid in and get EU citizens out, that we fully stand over Israel’s right to defend itself, condemn the terrorists who attacked their civilians, but how the response is conducted is important in terms of future security for the whole region, including here in the European Union.”
The United Nations estimates that about 117,000 displaced civilians are staying in 13 hospitals across the north of Gaza along with thousands of patients and medical staff.
Thousands more are seeking shelter in schools, UN facilities, and other public buildings.
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