Ireland condemns Israeli bombings
Ireland condemns Israeli bombings

Ireland has joined a wave of international anger and revulsion at the saturation bombing by Israel of the Palestinian-ruled Gaza Strip in the middle East this week.

Ireland has joined a wave of international anger and revulsion at a relentless Israeli bombing campaign of a Palestinian-ruled homeland in the middle East this week. Israeli warplanes pounded the besieged Gaza Strip for a third consecutive day this morning, bringing the death toll to an estimated 307 lives and leaving thousands injured. Among the targets struck by Israeli bombers were a television station, an Islamic University, a mosque and scores of civilian homes, as well as domestic security compounds and police bases. Some of the security compounds were repeatedly hit which increased the number of casualties as local residents and medics rushed to evacuate the wounded. A number of children are among the dead. Israel has characterised the bombing campaign as a reprisal for home-made rockets fired by Palestinian militants towards Israeli settlements across the Gaza-Israel border. The justification has been widely dismissed by international governments and independent observers. Despite the condemnation of the Israeli actions, there are fears of an even greater loss of life as Israel appears set to mount a full scale invasion of the Gaza strip. Israel's main political parties have vowed to violently overthrow a Hamas-led governmment following elections set for next month. Hospitals in Gaza are already overflowing and there are virtually no medical supplies, although Egypt has today finally opened its border to allow some medical assistance to enter the Gaza strip. In Ireland, Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin issued a statement condemning the violence and called for an immediate end to hostilities. "The only viable solution at this stage is the restoration of a genuine and fully honoured ceasefire throughout Gaza and southern Israel," he said. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions denounced the air strikes as "totally disproportionate". Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams called for solidarity with the people of Gaza in the wake of the repeated Israeli bombardment, The party has called on increased international political pressure to be applied for the Israeli Government to end hostilities. "People in Ireland and across the world have been horrified by the events in Gaza, particularly as they occur during this time of the year when the thoughts of millions of people are focused on the Holy Land," he said. "The cause of peace and stability in the Middle East can only be damaged by this latest outrage. "I would urge all parties and groups in the region to accept inclusive dialogue and political negotiation as the most effective pathway to peace and for all acts of military aggression to end." Demonstrations have been taking place across Ireland in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Sinn Féin International Affairs and Human Rights Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, speaking from one such demonstration in Dublin yesterday, said tough words from Minister Martin would have no affect on the Israeli bombing campaign. Deputy Ó Snodaigh, who recently visited Gaza to witness Israel's blockade of the city, said practical measures such as the suspension of preferential trade with Israel must be taken to exert pressure and bring the attacks to an end. "Israel's treatment of the people of Gaza City has been nothing short of disgraceful. "Its blockade of the City has created a humanitarian crisis in the region with shortages of food, fuel and medical supplies. "Thousands of homes are without power and the UN is struggling to feed the population while hospitals can't get hold of the medical supplies that they need." Mr O Snodaigh said he shared the "shock and horror" across the world at the loss of life in Gaza. "Israel's insistence that this operation is to continue is an affront to the international community which has by and large called for an end to military activity in the region. "However, strong words from the international community such as those from Micheál Martin will have no affect on Israel's decision to continue its bombardment of Palestine and action is urgently required. He joined calls for the suspension of the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement, which underpins preferential trade with Israel and is subject to Israel's compliance with human rights. The Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign has also demanded an appropriate response by the 26-County government to what it said was an "Israeli war crime". It said the Dublin government should summon the Israeli ambassador to account for the atrocity, and has planned further public protests against the bombings.

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