The United Nations Security Council must send a clear and united message that the cycle of violence and bloodshed in the Israeli-Palestinian crisis must end, the Minister for Foreign Affairs has warned.
Simon Coveney was speaking as the Council met current conflict as violence intensifies in the current conflict.
“Every day we delay in assuming our responsibility at this Council is another day lost in saving innocent lives,” Mr. Coveney said. “We need to send a clear and united message that the cycle of violence and bloodshed needs to end now.”
In his address, Mr Coveney condemned the killing of children this week. As of Sunday morning, at least 188 people have been killed in Gaza, including 155 children. Eight people in Israel have been killed, including a five-year-old boy and a soldier.
“Children must never be made prisoners of history, and that is exactly what is happening now.”
While both parties must refrain from violent and provocative attacks, Israel must also abide by international humanitarian law, he added.
“Particularly to the protection of civilians including when exercising the right to self-defense.
“Ireland calls on Israel to ensure that its security forces act in full respect for the principles of proportionality, distinction, and precaution in the conduct of military operations. Accountability must be ensured for the actions of the Israeli forces.”
While the focus now is on deescalating tensions in the region, we must also move past the reoccurring cycle of violence, he added.
"We cannot return to the flouting of international law with the expansion of illegal settlements into occupied Palestinian territory. We cannot return to forced evictions of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem and other parts of the West Bank.
"Serious and sustained efforts are urgently needed to reinvigorate and renew credible negotiations to establish a genuine political horizon, leading to a two-state solution in line with UN resolutions and international law. This council must play its part in that effort."
Mr Coveney's comments yesterday followed a weekend where thousands of people gathered across the country to show their solidarity with the people of Palestine.
In Cork, a Palestinian man who has built an award-winning business in the city joined the rally.
Izz Alkarajeh, who along with his wife, Eman, runs the renowned Izz Café in the city centre, marched alongside several hundred people through the city centre to a rally at the Grand Parade which heard calls for the Israeli ambassador to Ireland to be expelled. Mr Alkarajeh said it was “pleasing and encouraging” to see so many people take to the streets in support of the Palestinians.
“We felt that the world was not paying attention to our cause,” he said.
"But when we see this many people, it’s really something very positive and I feel more hopeful now that our rights will be supported by free people.
In Dublin, large crowds assembled around the Spire on O’Connell Street. The protesters marched through the city to the Israeli embassy in Ballsbridge chanting “Free Palestine”.