Gaza: Ceasefire

Oral Answers to Questions — The Executive Office – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 28 May 2024.

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Photo of Emma Sheerin Emma Sheerin Sinn Féin 2:30, 28 May 2024

T6. Ms Sheerin asked the First Minister and deputy First Minister whether the First Minister agrees that Israel’s barbaric attack on a refugee camp full of displaced Palestinians was another example of why there needs to be a complete and total ceasefire in Palestine, given that she will have seen over the weekend the horrible images from Gaza that flooded our screens. (AQT 326/22-27)

Photo of Michelle O'Neill Michelle O'Neill Sinn Féin

Speaking personally, there is no doubt that over one million Gazans are sheltering in Rafah with absolutely nowhere to go. Over the weekend, we all witnessed the horrendous scenes of charred remains and bodies under the rubble of a refugee camp that is in ruins. Israel's ongoing indiscriminate slaughter of the Palestinian people must end, and the international community must finally take a stand against Israel's genocide, ethnic cleansing and collective punishment of Palestinians. All hostages should be released immediately, and aid must be allowed to flow freely into Gaza. Israeli forces must withdraw from Gaza and the West Bank, and a peaceful settlement must be agreed through peace negotiations that lead to a viable Palestinian state.

Photo of Emma Sheerin Emma Sheerin Sinn Féin

Gabhaim buíochas leis an Chéad-Aire as an fhreagra sin.

[Translation: I thank the First Minister for that answer.]

First Minister, you have outlined the need for a total and unequivocal ceasefire. Do you agree that the Irish state's eventual recognition of the Palestinian state is a very good first step and a historic moment in our support for the Palestinian people?

Photo of Michelle O'Neill Michelle O'Neill Sinn Féin

Again, speaking personally, of course, I absolutely do. It is a historic moment for the people of Ireland and Palestine. I commend the efforts of all those people at home and across the international community who have campaigned for that outcome for years. However, there is no escaping the fact that the international community must come together and finally take a stand against Israel's genocide, ethnic cleansing and collective punishment of Palestinians, and work to deliver a peace settlement that leads to a viable Palestinian state.