Taoiseach joins calls for end to latest hostilities in Israel-Palestine conflict

Taoiseach joins calls for end to latest hostilities in Israel-Palestine conflict

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has joined calls for an end to the latest hostilities in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Following an attack on Israel by the Palestinian militant group Hamas on Saturday, Israel launched retaliatory strikes on Gaza.

According to local media reports, around 300 Israelis and more than 300 Palestinians have been killed so far, with several thousand more injured.

In a statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the country is at war and will 'return fire of a magnitude that the enemy has not known'.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Hamas attack came after 'daily provocations and attacks including the continued settlers' and occupation forces' terrorism'.

Breach of international law

On Saturday, the Taoiseach echoed calls from world leaders condemning the Hamas attacks and called for the fighting to end 'immediately'.

"The firing of rockets by Hamas and the loss of life in fighting is appalling, as is the impact on people going about their daily lives," he posted on Twitter.

"We condemn attacks on civilians unequivocally. The fighting should stop immediately."

A man and children walk on the ruins of a mosque destroyed in Israeli airstrikes in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip, on October 8, 2023 (Image: SAID KHATIB/AFP via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs has urged Irish people in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories to contact the Irish Embassy in Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv.

A message from the embassy on social media urged citizens to exercise extreme caution, shelter in place and follow the instructions of local Israeli authorities.

Speaking to the press on Saturday, Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin condemned the Hamas attacks and reports of Israeli civilians being taken hostage.

Israeli troops gather at an undisclosed location on the border with the Gaza Strip on October 8, 2023 (Image: MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images)

"It's clearly a breach of all international law and Israel, under international law, has the right to self-defence that has to be exercised in a very proportionate way," said the Tánaiste.

"I'm very concerned now about civilians, both in Israel and civilians in Gaza.

"It's very, very important that every effort is made to de-escalate this situation, to stop all of the violence and to protect the lives of innocent civilians."

'New urgency'

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin's spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence called for 'decisive international intervention' to end the conflict.

"The violent offensive by Palestinian forces has occurred against a sustained intensification of the Israeli state's occupation and apartheid in Palestine since 2022," said Matt Carthy TD.

"A lasting and just peace between Palestinians and Israelis requires an end to the occupation and apartheid systems being imposed upon the Palestinian people.

Rubble from damaged buildings is scattered on the ground following Israeli air strikes in Gaza City early on October 8, 2023 (Image: MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)

"Today’s events have created a new urgency to the need for a decisive international intervention.

"Such an intervention is required to bring about a ceasefire by all sides, and to formulate an effective road map providing for a proper negotiations process, based upon unconditional adherence to international law and the UN Charter."

The UN Security Council is due to hold closed consultations on the situation in the Middle East on Sunday afternoon.