Limerick senator demands action on Palestine from Human Rights Assembly

Senator Paul Gavan at a pro-Palestine demonstration.

LIMERICK-based Senator Paul Gavan has made an impassioned call for action on the ongoing war in Palestine at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council for Europe (PACE).

The Sinn Féin politician, who was leading a debate for the United European Left, heavily criticised a report prepared on the ongoing conflict in Palestine, titled ‘Recent developments in the Middle East: Hamas’ terrorist attach on Israel and Israel’s response‘.

Senator Gavan cited United Nation figures of over 23,000 deaths in Gaza  — 75 per cent of whom are estimated to be women and children. He informed the assembly that in addition to the 23,000, more than 53,000 people have been injured, and over 1,000 children have suffered amputations resulting form injuries, many without the aid of anaesthetic.

He also highlighted that there has been a displacement of over 85 per cent of the population, amounting to 1.9 million civilians.

”There has also been massive destruction of infrastructure in Gaza, including hospitals, school, places of worship, and refugee camps, in violation of International Humanitarian Law,” Gavan declared.

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“Over 60 per cent of housing units have been destroyed, along with the collapse of the health infrastructure due to the bombing of hospitals and the lack of medicines, the targeting of ambulances and medical and paramedical personnel.

“There is currently a serious lack of water and food leading to starvation. In the words of the great Jewish writer Gideon Levy: ‘If this doesn’t constitute genocide then what else could it be?’

“At the very least, this constitutes collective punishment of the Palestininan people, which in itself is a war crime,” he insisted.

Senator Gavan also hit out that the report in its current form has no direct condemnation of Israel.

“Are we really not willing to condemn this? What kind of human rights body would choose to ignore this?

”We have spent the last two years condemning the illegal war and occupation of Ukraine, and the last six decades ignoring the illegal occupation of Palestine. The words ‘double standards’ doesn’t even begin to describe the level of hypocrisy on show here.”

Addressing over 300 parliamentarians from across Europe, Senator Gavan urged all present to make a clear call for an immediate ceasefire.

“Even as we debate this report, bombs are raining down on the people of Gaza, slaughtering more innocents. We need an immediate and unconditional ceasefire, we need an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine and we need justice for the Palestinian people,” he concluded.