Taoiseach condemns ‘brutality’ of Israel’s response to Hamas attacks

Martin tells PBP TDs that expulsion of ambassador would ‘would achieve very little’

Fire and smoke rise above buildings in Gaza City as Israeli warplanes target a government building early on Tuesday. More than 200 people in Gaza and 10 in Israel have been killed in cross-border rocket exchanges. Photograph: Fatima Shbair/Getty Images.

Fire and smoke rise above buildings in Gaza City as Israeli warplanes target a government building early on Tuesday. More than 200 people in Gaza and 10 in Israel have been killed in cross-border rocket exchanges. Photograph: Fatima Shbair/Getty Images.

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The Taoiseach has condemned Israel’s response to Hamas rocket attacks on its territory as unacceptable in its “brutality and ruthlessness”.

Micheál Martin said it was “wholly disproportionate and indiscriminate and has resulted in the killing of innocent civilians”.

He said Gaza is very densely populated and “when you bomb at that level and scale it is inevitable that innocent families and people will be killed”.

Mr Martin also condemned rocket attacks by Hamas on Israeli territory and said an “immediate ceasefire is essential from both Hamas and Israel (which) should desist from its wholly disproportionate response”.

He was responding to People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett, who called for the Israeli ambassador to be expelled. The call was echoed by his party colleagues Gino Kenny and Paul Murphy.

Mr Boyd Barrett also said he had received “credible reports” on Tuesday morning that a US military aircraft en route to Israel refuelled at Baldonnel aerodrome in west Dublin. He said he did not know if the report was true but “it’s from credible sources”. He called on the Taoiseach to clarify the matter.

UK training mission

The Defence Forces press office said later that a “USAF C-17 landed at Baldonnel at 0850 on a technicality stop en-route to the UK as part of a crew training mission”.

Mr Kenny said more than 200 people including 60 children had been “murdered because they’re Palestinian”. He said this violence had been going on for generations and asked “when is the right time to expel the Israeli ambassador to Ireland if not now?”.

Mr Murphy said the expulsion would be a “very clear message that would resound around the world of opposition to the murderers who make up the Israeli government and solidarity with the people of Palestine”.

The Taoiseach said he did not agree with the idea of breaking off diplomatic relations as a response.

“It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. It would be a 24-hour wonder but would achieve very little,” he said.