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Tuesday 16 September 2014

Hamas uses civilians as shields – FG senator

Published 01/08/2014 | 02:30

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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 U.N. school in the Jebaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday, July 30, 2014. Some 3,300 Gazans seeking shelter from the fighting had been crowded into the U.N. school in Jebaliya refugee camp when it was hit by a series of Israeli artillery shells.  (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
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
An Israeli armoured personnel carrier (APC) drives near the border with the Gaza Strip July 31, 2014. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, facing international alarm over a rising civilian death toll in Gaza, said on Thursday he would not accept any ceasefire that stopped Israel completing the destruction of militants' infiltration tunnels. Gaza officials say at least 1,410 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed in the battered territory and nearly 7,000 wounded. Fifty-six Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza clashes and more than 400 wounded. Three civilians have been killed by Palestinian shelling in Israel. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola
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.

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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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