Written answers

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Foreign Conflicts

Photo of Michael MoynihanMichael Moynihan (Cork North West, Fianna Fail)
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108. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if the latest attacks in Israel and Palestine were discussed at the recent Foreign Affairs Council. [20556/19]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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The renewal of violence between Israel and Gaza, which began on Friday 3 May and lasted until Monday 6 May, was deeply alarming. While each side blamed the other for the initial spark, the sudden escalation of rocket fire was both unexpected and inevitably led to further attacks in both directions. I expressed my grave concerns in a public statement made on 5 May, condemning indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets and calling for restraint by all parties. The EU also issued a statement on the matter on 4 May. 

Thankfully the ceasefire was re-established quite quickly, but with lives lost on both sides, including civilians. These events are terrifying for ordinary Israelis and Palestinians, and deeply tragic for the families of those who have lost their lives or been injured. Civilians on both sides deserve better.

Given that the EU position had already been made clear on 4 May, and that the situation has since de-escalated,  Ministers did not discuss it at yesterday’s meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council.

The blockade of Gaza, which has gone on for over a decade, is inhumane and a recipe for disaster, and must end. Gaza is always on the verge of an escalation of violence such as we have just witnessed. There have been some reports that the renewed ceasefire may include some tacit agreements to ease the blockade. If true, Ireland would very much welcome such a development.

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