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Rafah operation ‘violates humanitarian law’


The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs has said he is in no doubt that “the continued bombardment on Rafah will constitute a war crime” and “gravely violates international humanitarian law”.

Micheál Martin was speaking after Israeli special forces launched an operation in the southern Gaza city in which at least 67 people were killed and two Israeli hostages freed.

“We are looking at now what is the largest refugee camp in the world in terms of 1.5 million people in Rafah. They cannot be displaced safely.

“To bomb and to mount a military operation in such a confined area with so many people is absolutely inhumane, unacceptable, and the international community must do everything it possibly can to put the pressure on Israel not to proceed with this invasion.

“It is very, very, serious. It will create catastrophic conditions on top of what are already dire situations for families and civilians in Gaza,” the Tánaiste said.

Mr Martin described what is happening in the territory as unacceptable.

“We have to do what we can, which we will through the various fora that we are members of, particularly the European Union and the United Nations, working with the Arab nations as well, making it very clear to Israel that we view this as a violation of international humanitarian law.”


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He also said that Ireland “is, and remains, strongly supportive of UNRWA [UN agency for Palestinian refugees] and will continue to be because in respect of getting vital humanitarian supplies to Gaza, to Palestinians more generally in Jordan and in the West Bank, in particular, UMRWA is absolutely essential.

“There are 30,000 in UNRWA across all the region, 13,000 in Gaza alone and in respect of education, and in respect of health services and food, and vital humanitarian supplies, there is no option, actually, but to continue with supporting UNRWA and I will be meeting with Philippe Lazzarini, the head of UNRWA this week,” Mr Martin said.


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