Regardless of history, persecution, attacks whether provoked or unprovoked and the need to protect citizens or resist land acquisition, the murder of innocents is not and never will be justifiable.
The scale of the loss of life in the latest events in Israel and Palestine can be difficult for us to comprehend. Yet while we can be shocked, saddened and angered by the massacres, those people unknown to us can unfortunately become mere statistics in this terrible conflict. Unless such events touch our own lives, we cannot truly know the horror and devastation of the needless loss of life.
Well, these events have touched our lives. My parliamentary assistant and friend Lara Alagha and her sister Yara who up until recently worked for Civic Engagement Group in the Seanad, have lost 28 members of their family, including young children. I cannot begin to comprehend the trauma they are experiencing. Regardless of history, persecution, the murder of innocents is not and never will be justifiable.
We know from bitter experience in these isles that historical hatred can not and will not be solved by revenge and retribution. Each attack and counterattack exacerbates human suffering, robbing innocent people of their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and loved ones, which in turn perpetuates the cycle of hatred.
We must avoid polarising statements that blames or favours one side of this conflict or the other. We must remain on the side of humanity and strongly advocate for a political solution to this complex issue and do everything in our power to lobby our EU counterparts to do the same. We have shown on these shores that a peace process is possible, and it can be achieved through dialogue and not violence.
I will use my remaining speaking time to observe a moments silence for Lara, Yara, their family and all the innocent people who have lost their lives on both sides of this terrible conflict.