Coveney tells ambassador Israel must ‘protect all civilians’

Minister says in Dáil that approach of security forces has not been acceptable

Residents of Gaza City have awoken to scenes of damage and scattered debris after a night of fire exchange between Israel and Palestinian militants. Video: David Dunne

 

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said that he told the Israeli ambassador that the country’s security forces must “protect all civilians in line with their obligations under international law.”

Speaking in the Dáil, Mr Coveney said “the approach of the Israeli authorities and security forces in my view is not acceptable”.

Mr Coveney, who had earlier called in the Israeli ambassador to Ireland, told the Dáil that he met him “to convey Ireland’s position with this recent tension and violence.

“I underlined the need for the Israeli authorities to behave responsibly and protect all civilians in line with their obligations under international law.”

Speaking during questions on foreign affairs, Mr Coveney said the provocations and clashes in East Jerusalem, which led to many injuries are “deeply worrying”

He said he was aware of the threatened eviction of Palestinian residents in East Jerusalem.

“I’ve urged Israel to cease evictions and demolitions,” he said, adding that “yesterday at the EU Foreign Affairs Council I highlighted the issues surrounding settlements, including evictions and seizures of property, which are a major driver of continuing conflict, and an obstacle to peace.”

He added that “this morning, Ireland’s representative office in Ramallah, visited the site, along with other diplomatic representatives. Irish officials continue to closely monitor the situation.

Israel’s main international Ben Gurion airport was closed to incoming and outgoing flights for a time on Tuesday night after some 130 rockets were fired from Gaza at Tel Aviv on Tuesday night.

It was described as the biggest militant attack ever on Israel’s largest urban centre. There were no immediate reports of serious casualties, but a woman was killed in a rocket attack on the central city of Rishon L’Tzion.

Clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians, which included Israeli air strikes, had left at least 20 people, including nine children, dead on Monday.

Mr Coveney said on Tuesday evening that he had confirmed the “UN Security Council will actually be discussing in closed session the deteriorating Israeli Palestinian situation in a meeting tomorrow.”