Sinn Féin deputy Dáil leader Pearse Doherty TD has called for the expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland.
Deputy Doherty was speaking during Leaders’ Question in the Dáil this afternoon.
“What happened in Gaza yesterday was a massacre; there is no other way to describe it,” Deputy Doherty said.
“Live ammunition and tear gas were used against unarmed Palestinians who were demanding their right to return to homes and villages they were expelled from in 1948.
“58 people have been killed as a result of the actions of Israeli forces; including six children and more than 2,700 have been injured. It is shameful and on behalf of Sinn Féin, I want to wholeheartedly condemn the brutal and violent actions of Israeli forces. I also want to extend our solidarity to the Palestinian people.
“The actions of Israel are undermining efforts to secure a sustainable and peaceful two-state solution and must be urgently challenged by the international community. Without sanction or an adequate diplomatic response, I fear more innocent civilians will be killed in the coming days.
“It is long past time that the international community, and the European Union in particular, took action to oppose ongoing Israeli aggression and oppression and acted to defend the rights of the people of Palestine.
“The onus is also on the Irish government to respond robustly. The Tánaiste met with the Israeli Ambassador this morning and urged restraint. Words are not good enough; the Tánaiste should have told him to pack his bags.
“There can be no impunity for Israel’s mass killing of Palestinians civilians and its continued illegal occupation of Palestine.
“In response to a British security assessment that Russia was involved in the Salisbury attack in March, the government acted quickly to expel a Russian diplomat – an even more robust response must apply in this scenario.
“The government must expel the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland in response to these murders and the flagrant disregard for international law, as well as recalling the Irish Ambassador to Israel in protest.
“The government must also now move to formally recognise the State of Palestine. A Sinn Féin motion to that effect was passed by the Dáil in 2014. The Seanad did likewise, and despite a commitment in the Programme for Government, the government has dragged their heels. The government should do so at this critical time and to make a stand for peace and progress in the Middle East.” ENDS