Deputy Sorca Clarke.

'We must refer Israel to the International Criminal Court' - Clarke

The Irish state “must” refer Israel to the International Criminal Court for its actions against the Palestinian people, according to Deputy Sorca Clarke.

Speaking during a Dáil debate on the Israeli-Palestine conflict yesterday, Deputy Clarke said that the actions of Israel “have horrified those of us across Europe and the wider world who are graced with the protection of distance from these attacks”.

“The deliberate targeting and killing of thousands of civilians, with the targeting and destroying of civilian infrastructure, hospitals and schools and the forced displacement of Palestinian civilians, is beyond comprehension at this point.

“This afternoon it was reported not only that hospitals are struggling to maintain desperately needed life support and equipment to treat those who are wounded, but also that Palestine's mortuaries are running out of electricity to preserve the dead for dignified burial.

“We have heard of mass graves being opened not because of any inclination to do so but because of the desperate need to do so. The entire population of Gaza is now a humanitarian case. There are half a million settlers in the West Bank. While what has been happening in Gaza continues, we have seen the worst situation in the West Bank for many years in terms of the number of people being killed. The Irish Government must exercise its right under Article 14 of the Rome Statute and refer Israel to the ICC.

“Our Taoiseach has spoken of collective punishment. The cutting off of water, electricity and food to mass civilian populations is absolutely against humanitarian law. While the Minister of State may differ from a lot of what we do, I trust he is somebody with a level of humanity who recognises this as being absolutely, catastrophically wrong. We see, as Irish people, the plight of the Palestinians and see the egregious destruction being rained down on them relentlessly, day in and day out.”

Deputy Clarke said that while she wants to “see a pathway for peace and to see hostages released”, she also wants “to see those who are responsible for this destruction held to account for it”.

“This is an issue of humanity. It is a question of what we place value on. We may be a small country but our voice is powerful and will not go unnoticed. It is in the power of the Irish Government to refer Israel to the ICC, and that is what should be done because it is the right thing to do.”