Fianna Fáil calls for Government to demand urgent EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting to discuss Gaza-Israel crisis
Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Brendan Smith TD is calling on the Government to seek a special meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council to discuss the ongoing crisis in the Middle East. The EU’s lack of intervention, as well as its abstention from a UN resolution to establish a commission of inquiry into human rights violations in Gaza and condemning Israel for potential violations of international law, has angered many people in Ireland.
Deputy Smith commented, “I am calling on Minister Charlie Flanagan to seek an urgent meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council to address the escalating humanitarian disaster in Gaza. The Israeli ground invasion has entered its fourth week. More than 1,800 Palestinians and over 60 Israelis have been killed in the violence. Images of badly injured women and children have dominated our TV screens for the past month demonstrating so clearly the scale of the situation.
“All loss of life must be condemned in the strongest possible terms, but the bombing of UN schools and designated shelters by the Israeli military is intolerable. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned the latest attack on a school in Rafah as a “moral outrage and a criminal act”.
“The EU cannot be allowed to continue with its hands-off approach and must be spurred into action. How many more lives will have been lost before the Foreign Affairs Council meets again? How many more innocent civilians must suffer before the EU and the international community can be forced into action? Measures must be taken to stop the bloodshed.
“EU Ministers must change their approach and demand a ceasefire in the region to allow for meaningful talks to take place. Violence solves nothing, discussions and mediated negotiations are our only hope of a resolution to this decades old conflict. The current wave of aggression must be stopped and the EU, led by Ireland if necessary, should impose sanctions on goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements. The EU needs to take a tougher, but united stance and prove that indiscriminate killings and maimings are not acceptable. It needs to go further than it has to date, and I am urging the Government here to play its part and seek a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council at the earliest possible date”.
In a joint statement, Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin TD and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Brendan Smith TD have criticised Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan’s decision that Ireland should abstain from a UN Human Rights Council resolution to set up a commission of inquiry into atrocities in Gaza.
“Like many people across the country, we listened in disbelief to the news that Ireland had joined other European states in abstaining from the vote at the UN Human Rights Council. What is happening in Gaza is an outrage and it is happening in plain sight.”
“If the international community is not able to find the moral courage to speak out on an issue which is as clearly unacceptable as the killing of young children or the bombing of a UN school housing refugees, one is left to wonder what level of atrocity is needed before we say stop.”
“The attempt to justify our abstention on the basis that the resolution did not adequately condemn rocket attacks by both sides is depressing. We utterly condemn the reckless attempt to target civilians using rocket attacks, but does that mean that we cannot also put our name to a resolution to investigate the slaughter of four innocent children on a Gaza beach?”
“Ireland once had a proud tradition of strong, principled and independent foreign affairs policy. The decision to sit on our hands and abstain from what should have been a very clear position on this UN resolution is a dereliction of this country’s proud history in foreign and humanitarian affairs.”
“I am calling for UN troops to be sent to the site of the Malaysian Airways crash to secure the evidence necessary in order to establish the truth of what happened to this plane”
Fianna Fáil Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Brendan Smith TD has said that UN troops should be deployed to secure the scene of the Malaysian Airways crash scene immediately to preserve evidence and facilitate a full investigation. He stated that if this tragedy is proven to have been caused by a missile strike, it would represent a crime against the international community.
Deputy Smith commented: “The scenes from eastern Ukraine are deeply shocking for many people. As families across our country prepare to travel for foreign holidays, the images emerging of families in Holland, Malaysia and elsewhere devastated by this terrible event have added a sense of horror.
“I am calling for UN troops to be sent to the site of the Malaysian Airways crash to secure the evidence necessary in order to establish the truth of what happened to this plane. The international community is entitled to know how it is possible that a modern commercial aircraft was shot out of the sky over European airspace. If this was a missile attack, we must establish who the perpetrators were. Only UN troops will have the confidence of the international community to secure this site.”
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Brendan Smith TD has welcomed the appointment of the former President of Ireland Mary Robinson as UN Special Envoy for Climate Change.
Deputy Smith has said: “Mary Robinson has huge passion and commitment to tackling climate change and has spent many years trying to drive real reform on this issue internationally. Fianna Fáil wishes Ms Robinson well in her new role and is urging the Government to take a leadership role within the European Union in addressing climate change.
“We are committed to an ambitious environmental programme which includes tackling climate change and published the Climate Change Response Bill in 2010 which sets out our commitment to legislating for a process that allows us to plan for greenhouse emissions reduction and adaptation to climate change. Fianna Fáil believes this must be done in a way that safeguards economic development and competitiveness. The legislation had an ambitious framework of targets up to 2050 which unfortunately this Government reneged on.
“The implementation of policies to tackle climate change must ensure the safeguarding of sustainable food production systems, which are vitally important in the fight against hunger and malnutrition.
“Ireland should be consistent with EU targets and we have consistently supported the international process under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. A major change in our approach to climate change policy is a new national priority on carbon transition. We are no longer solely focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. While they are important indicators of progress, we must also have a longer term and wider vision for creating a prosperous, sustainable Ireland.
“I welcome the focus UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has brought to the issue of climate change. There will be a lot of work for Mary Robinson to take on early given that there is a high-level climate summit in New York in late-September but I know she will bring a new focus to the role for determined and meaningful action on a global level.”