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Tánaiste deeply concerned at escalating tensions in Gaza

Human rights, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, Press Releases, Middle East and North Africa, 2013

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Eamon Gilmore, T.D., made the following statement today following violence in Gaza overnight which resulted in the deaths of four Palestinian militants and injuries to five Israeli soldiers:

“I am deeply concerned at the escalating tensions and recent violence in Gaza and urge all sides to exercise restraint.

We are currently at a critical juncture in efforts to resolve the Israeli-Arab conflict. There remains a strong onus on all sides to continue working actively for peace and to avoid any actions which could damage or imperil the current negotiations process.

I welcome the decision by the Israeli Government to release 26 Palestinian prisoners on 29 October as part of the agreements launching the current talks process. However, I also very much regret and deplore the simultaneous announcement advancing plans for the construction of a further 1,500 settlement units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Settlements are illegal under international law and constitute a clear obstacle to the achievement of a two-State solution. Such action will not advance the prospects for a successful outcome to the current crucial talks process.”

Commenting on the wider humanitarian situation in Gaza, the Tánaiste added:

“UN reports that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is worsening are also troubling. I would again call for urgent action to end the unacceptable blockade of the Gaza Strip and for all crossings to be reopened to normal commercial, human and humanitarian traffic.”