International Community must respond to humanitarian crisis in Gaza

“I wish to thank those who came out to highlight the humanitarian crisis in Gaza at last weekends Rally.

I pleased that so many public representatives, including many members of the SDLP have attended the Irish Congress of Trade Unions rally in Belfast to highlight the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

‘The world has witnessed the ongoing mass murder of Palestinian civilians in the latest series of Israeli air strikes in Gaza. The international community must now act in order to address the current onslaught that the people of Gaza are suffering, and also support a wider peace process in Palestine and the Middle East.

‘The utter disregard for human life must be condemned and every effort employed to put an end to the bloodshed. This latest bombardment of the people of Gaza shows a total disregard for both the Geneva Convention and international law.

‘Hamas’s indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel is wrong and must stop. However, there is no justification whatsoever for the murder of hundreds of civilians. The distressing images we are seeing on show the scale of the horror inflicted by these air strikes on defenceless families.

‘There are many people of peace and moderation living in both Israel and Gaza, neither supporting the current violence being waged by the Israeli defence forces or Hamas. We must lend our voice to these people and try and help them to find a peaceful resolution.

‘The international community, must now bring pressure to bear on the Israeli government to cease the violence and enter into robust and sustainable dialogue with all the parties.

‘The depth of the suffering inflicted by Israel was laid bare to me when I stood side by side with survivors of a family which lost eleven members in an Israeli air strike. This latest barrage of death and destruction must stop and stop now.”

‘The security of this region will only be achieved if channels of communication are opened. In any long-standing conflict, both sides must come to the realisation that they can only build a lasting peace together.

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