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A man helps a wounded girl and a woman to an ambulance after an Israeli airstrikes at their building in Gaza City today. Adel Hana

Coveney tells Israeli ambassador that the loss of life in Gaza is 'completely unacceptable'

Coveney told the ambassador that Israel has a duty to adhere to international law.

LAST UPDATE | 11 May 2021

FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER Simon Coveney told the Israeli Ambassador at a meeting today that the loss of life in Gaza last night was “completely unacceptable”. 

Ambassador Ophir Kariv had been summoned to a meeting with minister after Israel unleashed new air strikes on Gaza, killing a number of militants and civilians.

As of last night, 28 Palestinians – including 10 children and a woman – were killed in Gaza, most by air strikes, health officials there said.

The Israeli military said at least 16 of the dead were militants. Two Israelis have been killed in rocket attacks from militants.

Last night Coveney tweeted that the cycle of violence must end, stating that Ireland will continue to raise concerns in the UN Security Council, where Ireland is now a member.

In a meeting that lasted 45 minutes this afternoon, the minister is understood to have reiterated Ireland’s firm stance that the loss of life among civilians in Gaza last night was completely unacceptable. 

He told the ambassador that Israel has a duty to protect civilians and comply with international humanitarian law.

The minister reiterated his condemnation of the firing of rockets from Gaza and the impact on Israeli civilians.

He urged the Israeli authorities to urgently take action to de-escalate the situation.

The Ambassador of the State of Palestine to Ireland has condemned the Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, stating that intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population is a war crime under the Rome Statute.

He said the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs have called on the International Criminal Court to speed up the processes surrounding their investigations of Israeli war crimes.

Ambassador Abdalmajid said: “Firing into a densely populated civilian area is obscene.  We have already seen 9 children and dozens more people killed, and watched the traumatic scenes today as their families buried them.  The international community must act now to sanction this apartheid regime.”

Green Party Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Senator Vincent P. Martin said the attacks in Gaza were an “extraordinary obscenity and it is deeply offensive for the Israeli security forces to turn a mosque on a holy site in Jerusalem into a battleground”.

“The totally disproportionate and aggressive military response from the Israeli security forces can only serve to fuel tensions and provoke further violence. However meeting the Israeli response with further violence will not resolve this crisis.

“The UN Security Council, the EU, US President Joe Biden and all democracies must use their collective influential voices to call out such aggressive, provocative acts and insist that same will not be tolerated.” 
Senator Martin commended the Irish Government for issuing a much needed and forthright statement yesterday when Coveney described developments as “shocking and aggressive”.

Confrontation escalates

The confrontation between Israel and Hamas escalated again this evening as Israel unleashed new air strikes on Gaza while militants barraged Israel with hundreds of rockets.

The exchange killed a number of militants and civilians in Gaza and at least three Israelis.

The barrage of rockets from the Gaza Strip and air strikes into the territory continued almost non-stop throughout the day, in what appeared to be some of the most intense fighting between Israel and Hamas since their 2014 war.

The fire was so relentless that Israel’s Iron Dome rocket defence system seemed to be overwhelmed, while columns of smoke rose from many places in Gaza.

This evening, the violence extended to Tel Aviv, which came under fire from a barrage of rockets launched from the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s transportation authority said it was closing the country’s main international airport near the city.

Hamas said it launched a total of 130 rockets, its most intense strike so far, in response to Israel’s destruction of a high-rise building in Gaza earlier in the evening.

The sound of the outgoing rockets could be heard in Gaza. As the rockets rose into the skies, mosques across Gaza blared with chants of “God is great”, “victory to Islam” and “resistance”.

Since sundown on Monday, 28 Palestinians — including 10 children and a woman — have been killed in Gaza, most by air strikes, health officials there said. The Israeli military said at least 16 of the dead were militants.

With reporting by Press Association.

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