Holly Cairns TD

Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns has welcomed the decision by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to seek arrest warrants for top Israeli and Hamas leadership.

“Charges against Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant include causing extermination, causing starvation as a method of war – including the denial of humanitarian relief supplies – and deliberately targeting civilians in conflict.

“It is hugely significant that the ICC has recognised that crimes against humanity are being committed on a systematic and widespread scale against the Palestinian civilian population – and that this is explicit Israeli state policy.

“In a particularly strong statement from ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan, he said that Israel has intentionally and systemically deprived the civilian population in all parts of Gaza of objects indispensable to human survival.

“At a time when so many countries who profess to care about international law and human rights are turning a blind eye to Gaza, today’s decision by the ICC should serve as a wake-up call and mark a turning point in this brutal conflict.

“The Social Democrats are again calling on the Irish Government to match their words of condemnation with action. This should involve cutting diplomatic and economic ties with Israel, including passing the Occupied Territories Bill and the Illegal Israeli Settlements Divestment Bill.

“It is also welcome and appropriate that warrants have been sought for the arrest of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and two other top Hamas leaders — Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh – for their role in organising the October 7 attack, with charges to include ‘extermination, murder, taking of hostages, rape and sexual assault in detention’.

“Hundreds of Israeli civilians were killed or taken hostage by Hamas and other armed groups. The targeting of civilians is a war crime and I am again calling for the release of all hostages.”

May 20, 2024

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