IPSC Welcomes Gaza Ceasefire and Calls for End to Siege
The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign welcomes the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Hamas that was announced last night. The ceasefire, which went into effect at 9pm local time, comes after 8 days of brutal bombardment of the Gaza Strip which left 156 Palestinians and 5 Israeli citizens dead. Of the 156 Palestinians, 103 were civilians. Amongst those were 33 children, 13 women and 3 journalists. The 5th child of Al- Dalou family, who lost 4 of their children when an Israeli air-strike targeted their home on Monday, is still buried under rubble and presumed dead. Over 1000 people have been wounded in Gaza including 971 civilians.
Irish NUI Galway graduate of international law Gisela Schmidt Martin lives and works in Gaza with the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. She told the IPSC that: “The night passed off without incident. Drones are still buzzing overhead but people are slowly starting to leave their homes. Already last night, as the celebrations began to wind down, young men were out sweeping the streets and beginning to clean away the wreckage. The infrastructure has been devastated, but the people of Gaza will, yet again, rebuild.”
The Gaza strip is 41 kilometres long and is home to over 1.7 million people. Israel has enforced an economic blockade on the Strip since 2006 leaving it with no international port or airport and no means to export. This blockade has decimated Gaza’s economy and heightened levels of distrust amongst Palestinians towards the Israeli government. This is, of course, a clear breach of Article II of the Euro-Med Agreement which affords Israel preferential trading status with the EU. Article II states that the agreement is conditional on ‘respect for human rights’.
IPSC Spokesperson Freda Hughes said, “We welcome the ceasefire and the reprieve it brings to all those who have suffered the horrors of the last eight days of bombardment. We hope that the Israeli imposed trade embargo and travel restriction on Gaza will be lifted. In the aftermath of Operation Pillar of Cloud it will be important that all those responsible for committing war crimes are held accountable to ensure a just and lasting peace can be pursued in the region. It is hard to imagine how peace talks could be meaningful or effective without actions such as these. Ultimately we hope that any such talks can help to bring about an end to the 45 year occupation of Palestine and the human rights abuses that have gone on for too long in the region. “
She continued, “We extend our heartfelt solidarity and condolences to all those who have lost loved ones during this recent spate of aggression.”