Green MEP calls on the Irish government to aid investigation into war crimes in the Gaza Strip.
This week, the International Court of Justice will begin hearing the application taken by the Republic of South Africa against Israel to investigate breaches of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. In a letter to the International Court of Justice signed by MEP for Ireland South Grace O’Sullivan, members of the European Parliament expressed support for the South African application and called for measures to be immediately put in place “to prevent and to punish genocide”.
Speaking from the European Parliament in Brussels, MEP O’Sullivan said: “Ireland is a party to the Genocide Convention, and we have an obligation to ensure it is being upheld. Ireland intervened in the genocide case taken against Russia where 10,000 Ukrainians were killed in the invasion, why should we not do the same for the 20,000-30,000 Palestinians who have been killed by Israeli bombs?”
“The situation on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territories has long been considered apartheid by human rights organisations, I saw that for myself in the West Bank. No one has better knowledge of apartheid than the people of South Africa, so it is extremely poignant that it is South Africa taking the Israeli government to task for the wanton destruction of Gaza and the targeting of Gazan civilians,” the MEP added.
Evidence has been mounting of Israeli war crimes that may amount to genocide, including the intentional bombing of schools, mosques, churches and hospitals as well as air strikes on areas previously declared as ‘safe zones’ by Israeli authorities. Video footage has shown Israeli Defence Forces firing indiscriminately on civilians and the degrading treatment of prisoners. The South African case also relies on public statements by Israeli Ministers and military figures indicating that Israel plans to depopulate Gaza and establish illegal settlements in the strip.
Grace O’Sullivan added: “The civil rights activist Maya Angelou famously said: ‘when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.’ Israeli ministers are openly calling for the ethnic cleansing of Gaza while they are simultaneously arming illegal settlers in the West Bank. We must believe that they are serious in their intentions, which means we have little time to act to stop them.”