Gaza War

Members' Statements – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 12:45 pm on 15 April 2024.

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Photo of Gerry Carroll Gerry Carroll People Before Profit Alliance 12:45, 15 April 2024

Over the weekend, Iran fired some 300 missiles at Israel, and the world watched with bated breath as we awaited the outcome of what could have been a wider confrontation in the Middle East. Today, I call, loudly and clearly, for a de-escalation of violence but also for people to reflect on what has brought us to that point.

For six months now, Israel has been committing genocide in Gaza, the horror of which would have been unimaginable before. Israel has destroyed hospitals, deliberately murdered children, taken thousands of hostages and systematically denied people food, water and medical aid. Israel has killed over 33,000 Palestinians and committed the most heinous war crimes. In that time, Israel has also bombed Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, Iran and Yemen, with the complete backing of Western imperialists in the US, Britain and elsewhere.

I have my own view of the Iranian state. I have stood with my Iranian sisters and brothers here in Belfast under the slogan "Woman, Life, Freedom", but its actions over the weekend were in retaliation to Israel's bombing of the Iranian consulate in Damascus.

What we are seeing started with Israel's genocide in Gaza and must end with a ceasefire in Gaza. Israel is a rogue state that has risked a wider regional war with every reckless action that it has taken. Israel and those who continue to support and arm it, including the US and Britain, now have to be responsible for de-escalating the violence. The G7, drawn from the so-called leaders of the democratic world, was quick to defend Israel and talked of guaranteeing peace in the region. As those countries' sophisticated defence systems mopped up Iran's missiles, Israel continued to bombard Gaza overnight with the very weapons that they provide.

Their hypocrisy and Israel's unchallenged barbarity make a mockery of the supposed rules-based international order. Those people will do anything to protect their interests. We have seen it in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and across the globe, so it is up to ordinary people to continue to press home the demands that can bring about peace: boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) against Israel; the British and Irish Governments to expel the Israeli ambassadors; countries to stop arming Israel; and the US military to get out of Aldergrove and Shannon. The Stormont Executive must now urgently call for an immediate ceasefire.

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

I call Paul Frew. You have two minutes, Paul.