Tuesday 17 July 2018

Israel's actions roundly condemned as 'outrageous' in Leinster House

Palestinians protest as dignitaries applaud at the opening ceremony of the new US embassy in Jerusalem (AP)
Palestinians protest as dignitaries applaud at the opening ceremony of the new US embassy in Jerusalem (AP)
Palestinian protesters run for cover
Palestinian protesters burn tyres during a protest at the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Palestinian protesters gathered during a protest at the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Palestinians run from tear gas during clashes with Israeli security forces near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
A Palestinian boy holding his national flag looks at clashes with Israeli security forces near the border. Photo: Getty
Israeli and Palestinian protesters wave signs and chant outside the new US Embassy in Jerusalem (Eyal Warshavsky/AP)
A Palestinian woman holds her child suffering from teargas inhalation (Dusan Vranic/AP)
Palestinian protesters run for cover from teargas fired by Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel (Adel Hana/AP)
An elderly Palestinian man falls on the ground after being shot by Israeli troops during a deadly protest at the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel (Khalil Hamra/AP)
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

ISRAEL’S actions on the Gaza border have been roundly condemned as "outrageous" in Leinster House.

Calls have been made for the Government to expel the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland Ze'ev Boker.

Sinn Féin said that in the face of “death and destruction” in the region it would be the only acceptable response from Ireland.

Israeli troops shot dead dozens of Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border yesterday when the high-profile opening of the U.S. embassy to Israel in Jerusalem by the Trump administration raised tension to boiling point after weeks of demonstrations.

Palestinian protesters run for cover
Palestinian protesters run for cover

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney met with Mr Boker early this morning and expressed "Ireland’s shock and dismay at the level of death and injury yesterday on the Gaza Strip".

The Minister also called for restraint from Israel in the hours and days ahead.

Palestinian protesters burn tyres during a protest at the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Palestinian protesters burn tyres during a protest at the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

But Mary Lou McDonald said it’s "not enough to simply to symbolically call in the Israeli ambassador".

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin said the Government should seek to influence the EU approach to the situation.

An injured protester is carried away after Israeli forces opened fire. REUTERS
An injured protester is carried away after Israeli forces opened fire. REUTERS

He said Palestinian people had been "cut down by snipers" for protesting and it’s a "shocking reality for the whole world to address".

"For most right thinking people it made our blood run cold,2 he said.

"I think it’s think for Ireland to make a stand."

Mr Howlin said the Government should be seeking to act alongside the EU but if that isn’t possible then we "have to consider what we do independently".

Fianna Fáil’s Niall Collins said the EU and United Nations "cannot stand back and let this further escalate".

"All the hand wringing in the world will not solve this issue. Those of us in the European Union who desperately want a peaceful Middle East must be willing to step up to the mark to act as a counterbalancing force to the one-sided approach of the current US administration.

"The Trump Administrations is now part of the problem. It has a blinkered view of the Middle East that must be counteracted by a balanced EU response," Mr Collins said.

Israel’s ambassador to Ireland will not be expelled after troops shot dead dozens of Palestinian protesters yesterday, according to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Mr Varadkar told the Dáil this afternoon that the government will actively seek a peace agreement in the Middle East that involves dialogue and engagement. He said a move to expel the Israeli ambassador to Ireland would not help such a process.

Mr Varadkar condemned the Israeli actions and the border yesterday.

He said that while the protests may not have been peaceful, the use of live ammunition was an inappropriate response.

He supports an independent international investigation of events at the Gaza border yesterday.

“I am profoundly shocked at the death toll and injuries inflicted on people in Palestine,” said Mr Varadkar.

“The blockade of Gaza is inhumane and must end,” he added.

The Taoiseach said removing the Israeli Ambassador would be met with Ireland’s Ambassador being expelled from the Middle East, effectively shutting down communications between the two countries. He said this would have negative consequences.

“Our view as a government is that you solve conflict with dialogue and dialogue requires engagement and it requires an interlocular.

“We will continue to engage with Israel and Palestine and try to be part of a future peace process.

“We will also act through the UN and we have given our support to the UN secretary general in his call for an independent investigation in to this matter.”

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