Trócaire partners call for end to Israeli attacks on Palestinians
HUMAN rights workers linked to Irish aid charity Trócaire have described the crisis facing Palestinians in Gaza has "unprecedented".
Dozens of civilians have been killed and thousands forced to flee their homes in recent days after a series of military strikes carried out by Israeli armed forces.
Officials say 119 Palestinians have been killed, including 31 children, while around 830 have been wounded.
Rockets have also been fired by Hamas militants into Israeli territory resulting in the deaths of eight people.
The fresh conflict comes after weeks of rising tensions in the region.
Israel has said it is targeting buildings where Hamas stores weapons or has offices, and the Israeli military said it warned civilians to evacuate before the strikes.
However speaking to the Irish News from Gaza last night human rights lawyer Raji Sourani said civilian objects and properties are also being targeted.
Mr Sourani is the founder and director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, which is a partner organization of Trócaire, and a former director of the Gaza Centre for Rights and Law.
"They are targeting civilian targets and targeting institutions, police stations, apartments and the biggest number of killings and injuries are children, women and civilians," he said.
Me Sourani said that large numbers of Palestinians have been forced to flee their homes.
"Tens of thousand were forced to leave their houses, streets and neighbourhoods, right now thousands are displaced," he said.
He said that the recent attacks need to stop.
"What we need first of all is to stop this aggression. They want to destroy everything in Gaza," he claimed.
Dr Yasser Abu Jamei is director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, Gaza’s largest mental health programme, which is funded by Trócaire.
He said the international community must play its part.
"Our current living conditions under the siege are an affront to human dignity," he said.
"I tell my children and my clients, 'we Palestinians have the right to live as any other people in the world: to live in peace, in dignity and to enjoy our rights. It will come'.
"The international community must now fulfil its promise of a sovereign Palestinian state."
Siobhan Hanley, head of Tócaire NI, called for an end to the conflict.
"Trocaire is calling for the violence in Gaza to stop immediately and says an urgent response is required from the international community to hold perpetrators accountable for the war crimes that are being committed," he said
"Trocaire is calling for respect for international humanitarian law in Israel and Gaza and says civilians should be protected in all circumstances and never be a target."
To support Trócaire's work you can make a donation at www.trocaire.org