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Displaced Palestinians live in one of the makeshift camp in Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip, December 28, 2023. Photo: Mohammed Zaanoun

Palestine & Israel

Time for action as risk of genocide in the Gaza Strip

Over the last number of months Israel has undertaken an unrelenting military campaign on the Gaza Strip that has resulted in more than 25,000 thousand deaths, 62,000 injured and the displacement of 1.9m people. 1 in 4 people in Gaza are facing immediate risk of starvation. These acts are war crimes.

Trócaire has repeatedly called for an immediate ceasefire, unhindered humanitarian access and a return of all hostages and those arbitrarily detained. Sadly, these asks remain more relevant than ever as the humanitarian cost is unprecedented.

Accountability and respect for international humanitarian and human rights law are critical if these repeated cycles of indiscriminate violence and wanton destruction is to end. The events of October 7th, perpetrated by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, are also war crimes, and they must be held accountable. As horrific as these attacks were, they cannot be used as justification for what has happened and continues to unfold in Gaza.

The Israeli military is killing an average of 250 Palestinians per day in Gaza, a higher daily death rate than any other twenty-first-century armed conflict.

Almost 90 percent of Palestinians have been displaced from their homes, with many moving multiple times in search of safety. More than 70 percent of homes and other civilian infrastructure have been completely destroyed in airstrikes and bombardments. The World Food Programme (WFP) has warned of the risk of famine as inadequate food and supplies are entering Gaza. There is an additional and growing concern of the spread of infectious diseases due to overcrowding and a lack of sanitation.

The desperate situation endured by the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip has led UN experts and Trócaire partners to warn that there is an immediate risk of genocide in the Gaza Strip.

Ireland has taken a leadership position in recent months in calling for a ceasefire. However, this is no longer enough. Now is the time for measures to be taken to end the violence and suffering, and to prevent further atrocities.

Trócaire is calling on the Irish Government to;  

  • Urgently conduct a detailed assessment of whether there is a risk that genocide is being committed in the context of the war in Gaza, as a first step towards fulfilling Ireland’s duty to prevent genocide under the Genocide Convention of 1948
  • Issue a public statement in support of South Africa’s case at the ICJ, in particular the provisional measures requested by South Africa that amongst others, call on Israel to immediately suspend its military operations in and against Gaza
  • As soon as possible, join the case as an intervener in support of South Africa’s case as it did in the Ukraine v Russia case at the International Court of Justice
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