News Middle East

Friday 19 September 2014

Ireland show 'cowardice' following Gaza inquiry vote

John Downing and Fionnan Sheahan

Published 24/07/2014 | 02:30

  • Share
People take part in a protest march through Dublin city centre in in solidarity with the people of Palestine. Photo credit: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
People take part in a protest march through Dublin city centre in in solidarity with the people of Palestine. Photo credit: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
A Palestinian relative holds the body of a two-year-old girl, who medics said was killed by an Israeli tank shell, at the morgue in Beit Lahiya. Photo credit: REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly
A Palestinian relative holds the body of a two-year-old girl, who medics said was killed by an Israeli tank shell, at the morgue in Beit Lahiya. Photo credit: REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly
The Israeli community of Netiv Haasara is seen in front of flares fired by the Israeli army in Gaza July 23, 2014. Gaza fighting raged on Wednesday, displacing thousands more Palestinians in the battered territory as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said efforts to secure a truce between Israel and Hamas had made some progress. Israel launched its offensive on July 8 to halt rocket salvoes by Hamas and its allies, which have struggled under an Israeli-Egyptian economic blockade on Gaza and angered by a crackdown on their supporters in the nearby occupied West Bank. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
The Israeli community of Netiv Haasara is seen in front of flares fired by the Israeli army in Gaza. Reuters

The Government is being accused of showing "political cowardice" by failing to vote on a United Nations inquiry into human rights abuses in Israel's military action in Gaza.

  • Share
  • Go To

But Ireland agreed with the EU position of seeking an inquiry into abuses by both sides in the Gaza conflict.

Ireland is a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which agreed to launch an international inquiry into alleged violations by Israel in Gaza.

But the Irish Government delegation abstained from the vote, which was approved by 29 votes in favour, one against and 17 abstentions.

Only the United States voted against holding the inquiry. The 17 abstentions included the nine EU member states which are members of the UNHRC.

The majority of the UN human rights body is pro-Palestinian.

Ireland abstained based on the EU position of wanting an inquiry to look at violations of human rights by both sides, including those committed by Hamas and other militant groups.

The EU also wanted to condemn the firing of rockets into Israeli civilian areas as well as recognising Israel's right to defend itself.

As a result the EU did not support the resolution and the nine member states abstained.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said the nine EU member states agreed a position, so Ireland abstained.

Ireland's Ambassador Patricia O'Brien said Irish people have been "appalled" by the upsurge of violence in Gaza, and especially the very high and unacceptable level of civilian casualties.

"Ireland condemns both the firing of missiles from Gaza into Israel by Hamas and other militant groups, and the killing of hundreds of civilians in military attacks by Israel on targets in Gaza which fail to respect the requirement under international law for any military action to be proportionate and discriminate. It is clear to us that neither side is paying adequate regard to the cost of their actions on innocent civilians," she said at the UN human rights council meeting. The vote was taken during an emergency debate at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

But Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams accused the Government of "political cowardice" in abstaining in the vote to set up an international Commission of Inquiry into allegations of war crimes.

Irish Independent

Read More

Editors Choice

Also in World News