Ireland cries for Lebanon

There is anger and concern in Ireland at Israeli attacks on civilian targets in Lebanon, with little action by the international community to intervene.

Evacuations of Irish people from Lebanon continued today as the conflict there escalated. Over a hundred have been taken out through Syria as Lebanese cities were pounded in what has been described as a unilateral “massacre”.

As dozens of aircraft dropped 23 tonnes of explosives in Beirut’s southern suburb, President Mary McAleese called on both sides to pull back from the brink.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern, meanwhile, has criticised the conduct of the Israeli government in its military offensive against Lebanon.

Mr Ahern said that Israel “had a right to defend itself”, but it must act in accordance with international law.

He said the country’s actions in Lebanon over the past week had been harsh and disproportionate.

Israel’s ambassador to Ireland, however, has defended his country’s actions, saying it had a right to fight “terror” for to cross-border rocket attacks by the Lebanese-based Hezbollah movement.

Sinn Féin spokesperson on International Affairs Aengus O Snodaigh challenged the Dublin government to call in the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland and demand an immediate end to the bombings.

“The situation in the Middle East is deteriorating by the minute. Nearly 300 people have already died as a result of Israeli attacks in Lebanon and Palestine and many more will die if Israeli authorities don’t stop the massacre,” he said.

“This is not the first time that Israel has attacked Lebanon and caused huge loss of life and devastation to the country’s infrastructure. It cannot be allowed to happen again.”

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© 2006 Irish Republican News