Sunday 21 December 2014

Hamas uses civilians as shields – FG senator

Published 01/08/2014 | 02:30

Smoke rises after an Israeli strike hit the offices of the Hamas movement's Al-Aqsa satellite TV station, in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 31, 2014. Israel said Thursday it has called up another 16,000 reservists, allowing it to potentially widen its Gaza operation against the territory's Hamas rulers in a war that has killed more than 1,300 Palestinians and more than 50 Israelis. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
Smoke rises after an Israeli strike hit the offices of the Hamas movement's Al-Aqsa satellite TV station, in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip. AP
A boy looks through a hole on the wall made by the shelling at the Abu Hussein UN school in the Jebaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. AP
Eyal (C) and Danit (3rd R), the father and mother of Israeli soldier Guy Algranati, and his sisters mourn during his funeral in Tel Aviv. Algranati was killed on Wednesday by a booby trap detonated as he and 2 other soldiers uncovered a tunnel shaft, the army said. Reuters
A Palestinian firefighter participates in efforts to put out a fire in a van, which witnesses said was hit in an Israeli air strike, in Gaza City. Reuters
A Palestinian medic shouts for help in front of an apartment building on fire caused by an Israeli strike in Rafah. AP
A Palestinian man reacts at the scene of what witnesses said was an Israeli air strike on a van, in Gaza City. Reuters
A Palestinian carries his daughter as they flee, following an Israeli airstrike on an apartment building in Rafah. AP
Palestinian boys, who fled houses following Israeli offensive, play soccer as they take refuge at a United Nations-run school in Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. Reuters
Family members of Israeli soldier Matan Gotlib mourn during his funeral in Rishon Lezion, near Tel Aviv. Reuters
Relatives of Palestinians, whom medics said were killed in an Israeli air strike on their van, grieve at a hospital Gaza City. Reuters
Palestinian Hamas supporters shout slogans against Israel during a protest to support Hamas and against the Israeli offensive on Gaza strip, in the West Bank city of Nablus. Reuters
Palestinians gather near a burning building that police said was destroyed by an Israeli Air strike in Gaza City. Reuters
Smoke rises after an Israeli strike in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip. AP
Rockets are fired from Gaza Strip towards Israel as international efforts to end the 23-day-old conflict seemed to sputter despite concern over the mounting death toll. AP
Smoke and sand from an explosion rise after an Israeli strike in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip. AP
An Israeli woman surveys the damage after a rocket fired by Palestinian militants in Gaza landed in the southern town of Kiryat Gat. Reuters
An Israeli armoured personnel carrier (APC) drives near the border with the Gaza Strip. Reuters

A Fine Gael Senator says Hamas is using the Palestinian people as "human shields to gain propaganda advantage" in the conflict with Israel.

Pat O'Neill, who is favourite to be the Fine Gael candidate in the Carlow-Kilkenny by-election next year caused by the appointment of party TD Phil Hogan as European Commissioner, said the world media was depicting Israel as "the terrorist" but a look at its history shows what Hamas stands for.

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan defended the Government's stance of not backing an international inquiry into Israel's military action.

But Independent Senator David Norris said Ireland's abstention on the UN vote was "shameful". He said it was better to be one country in the right, rather than siding with all the rest in the wrong.

Mr Norris told the recalled Seanad that Israel was defying the world and "unscrupulously using the Holocaust to justify what they are doing".

Mr Flanagan said the decision to abstain on a UN vote for an inquiry was a collective EU decision. "The cold reality also is that, if a common abstention had not been agreed, there was a very high likelihood of a number of our EU partners voting against the Resolution, thereby reducing overall EU influence even further."

Mr Flanagan said Israel is responding disproportionately to Hamas rocket attacks.

The minister said any use of military force in self-defence must be in accordance with international laws and the level of casualties was unacceptable.

"What we are now witnessing in Gaza is a brutal and utterly futile conflict," he said.

Mr Flanagan said he fears, in particular, for the damage which its continued military operations against innocent civilians is doing to Israel's international reputation.

Irish Independent

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