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Taoiseach Simon Harris

'Europe could be doing a hell of a lot more' on Gaza, says Taoiseach

Cabinet today formally recognised the state of Palestine and raised the Palestinian flag above Leinster House.


TAOISEACH SIMON HARRIS has urged European countries to use “every lever at their disposal” to halt fighting in the Middle East and find a two-state solution to Israel’s war.

Cabinet today formally recognised the state of Palestine and raised the Palestinian flag above Leinster House.

Harris says it sends a signal to the world that there are “practical actions” to be taken by countries in pursuit of a ceasefire and two-state solution.

The Taoiseach said that while Ireland doesn’t have the same ‘punching power’ as America, Europe does.

“And Europe could be doing a hell of a lot more,” Harris said. “Europe needs to do a lot more in relation to this.”

On the practical implications of today’s move, Harris said:

At a time when some are seeking to bomb into oblivion the hope of a two-state solution, it keeps that hope alive.

The UN Security Council is convening an emergency meeting today over an Israeli strike that killed dozens of people in a refugee camp Rafah.

The area was supposed to be a “safe” place but at least 45 Palestinians, including women and children, were killed in the strike by Israel.

“Unfortunately we now have a new despicable and disgusting trend emerging where every now and again a particular event of absolute horror seems to take place and the prime minister of Israel comes out and describes it as a tragic mistake,” said Harris.

“April’s tragic mistake was the bombing to death of aid workers trying to provide food to starving [people].

“May’s tragic mistake yesterday was children being blown to death while seeking protection in a displaced person centre.

“What will June’s ‘tragic mistake’ be and, more importantly, what does the world now intend to do to stop it?”

He said he has consistently urged world leaders, including President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, to “use every lever at their disposal” to bring about a ceasefire.

Meanwhile, Tánaiste Micheál Martin has said EU foreign ministers have for the first time discussed sanctions on Israel if it ignores the rulings of the International Court of Justice.

Last week, the ICJ ordered Israel to halt its offensive in Rafah - which Israel did not.

Speaking tonight on RTÉ’s Prime Time, Martin said if “Israel continues to fight to defy” the orders of the ICJ, “that poses a fundamental challenge to the European Union, which has always upheld the independence of the courts and international humanitarian law”.

Martin added that sanctions on Israel should be considered but that any sanctions would have to be “at a European level for to be effective and impactful”. 

Martin also remarked that Israel is “defying” its ally the United States and called on the US to “send the clearest message that this war has to stop”. 

However, Martin added: “It seems to me that the Israeli government under Benjamin Netanyahu is oblivious to any advocacy or representations that are being made even by their friends to stop this.”

He also stated that the US should not be sending weapons to Israel while the conflict continues. 

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