independent

Saturday 20 September 2014

O'Grady: Expel the Israeli Ambassador

Joe Leogue

Published 02/08/2014 | 00:00

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CORK County Council is to write to the Government to express its concern over the current conflict in the Middle East.

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The local authority is to request that the Government meet with the Israeli ambassador to convey the view that Israel is using "disproportionate" force in its ongoing war with Hamas in the Gaza strip.

The call comes following an amendment to a motion by Sinn Féin which called for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador "as an expression of the outrage felt by the Irish people."

In raising the motion at Monday's meeting of Cork County Council, Sinn Féin Cllr Des O'Grady, pictured right, said that Israel had gone about a "murderous and ruthless" attack on Gaza.

"The people of Gaza have been under assault, either economically or physically every day of the year for the past seven years. In 2007 Israel declared economic war on Gaza by imposing a land, sea and air blockade on Gaza's border, minimising exports and imports and also the free movement of people," he said.

Cllr O'Grady said that the blockade has had a severe impact on the health of people in Gaza, and that in 2012 a Norwegian doctor who had worked in Gaza reported to the United Nations that Palestinian children were suffering malnourishment, anaemia and stunted growth.

"I accept that to expel the ambassador would certainly be an exceptional event, but I think the wholesale slaughter of men, women and children warrant this step," he said.

While there was widespread condemnation of Israel's part in the conflict from councillors across the political divide, there was little support outside Sinn Féin for the party's motion on the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador.

Many councillors spoke critically of the government's decision to abstain on a United Nations vote to investigate allegations of Israeli war crimes in Gaza and agreed with Sinn Féin that Israel's use of force was "disproportionate."

However, councillors from Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil both said that nothing would be achieved by expelling the Israeli ambassador.

The motion was amended to ask that the government convey its concerns to the ambassador.

Corkman

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