Statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dermot Ahern, T.D. on Gaza
“I am deeply concerned by the rising toll of death and destruction in Gaza. I unreservedly condemn the deaths of civilians, including women and children, as a result of shelling by the Israeli Defence Forces in Beit Hanoun early today. I would like to convey the sincerest condolences of the Government and people of Ireland to the victims and their families.
“Ireland and the EU have regularly reminded all parties of their obligation to protect civilian lives. We have stated on many occasions that Israel has a right to defend itself against attack, but not at the expense of the lives and welfare of innocent civilians. An immediate end to all violence is now essential.
“The terrible violence of recent months has underlined clearly that there can be no military or unilateral solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Government strongly supports the courageous efforts of President Mahmoud Abbas to agree a Palestinian national unity government. The only way forward for Israel and the Palestinians is the negotiation of a viable two-State solution. All parties have a clear duty to act now to revive a credible peace process, and avoid further appalling tragedies such as those witnessed in Gaza today.”
8 November 2006