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Claims Irish people have one-sided view of Middle East conflict unfair – Martin

By PA News

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A claim from Israel’s ambassador to Ireland that Irish people have a “one-sided view” of the Middle East conflict has been dismissed as unfair by Tanaiste Micheal Martin.

Ireland’s deputy premier said that Irish people were motivated by their shock at the “catastrophic” number of deaths and destruction in the Gaza Strip.

Ambassador Dana Erlich said on Wednesday that Israel is portrayed “as the only villain” in Ireland, and that the actions of Hamas militants should be condemned more often.

When you call out in the streets of Dublin, why are you not calling out for the release of the Israeli kidnapped civilians?
Dana Erlich, Israeli ambassador

“I ask the Irish people listening right now: When you criticise Israel, just raise more questions about the actions of Hamas, and think what can be done inside Gaza by the UN agencies in order to actually help the Palestinian people,” Ms Erlich told Newstalk on Wednesday.

“When you call out in the streets of Dublin, why are you not calling out for the release of the Israeli kidnapped civilians?”

Asked about the comments during a visit to Belfast, Mr Martin said that Irish people were “on the side of humanity” and were motivated by the “horrific” humanitarian situation in the enclave.

“We have been very clear in terms of our condemnation of the Hamas attack of October 7, and indeed of Hamas itself as an organisation, and we’ve called on Hamas to lay down its arms, and the vast majority of the Irish people support that position,” the foreign affairs minister said.

“It’s not fair to say there is a one-sided position. I think the Irish people are on the side of humanity and the Irish people are shocked at the level of death and civilian causalities within Gaza.

“One hundred thousand people are either dead, injured or maimed and that is shocking; 17,000 children unaccompanied in Gaza now and that is horrific.

Micheal Martin said Irish people were ‘on the side of humanity’ (Niall Carson/PA)
Micheal Martin said Irish people were ‘on the side of humanity’ (Niall Carson/PA)

“That is what motivates the Irish people. We want an immediate humanitarian ceasefire on that basis. Gaza has been levelled. The humanitarian situation is catastrophic.”

Israel’s air and ground offensive, launched in response to the October 7 attack, is reported to have killed more than 29,000 Palestinians, obliterated entire neighbourhoods and displaced more than 80% of the population of 2.3 million.

More than 69,000 Palestinians have been wounded, according to the region’s authorities.

The Israeli operation was launched after Hamas-led militants rampaged across communities in southern Israel, killing some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking around 250 hostage.

The militants still hold some 130 captives, around a fourth of whom are believed to be dead.

Mr Martin said the Government had received a UN briefing on the “dire situation” within Gaza, adding: “That is what motivates the Irish people and Irish Government.”

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