Gerry Adams blocked from Gaza
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has expressed his disappointment at the decision of the Israeli authorities to refuse him entry into Gaza.
The Sinn Féin leader is on a three-day visit to Israel and Palestine.
Yesterday he met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for an hour of talks in Ramallah and later with Dr Mustafa Barghouti the leader of the Palestinian National Initiative.
Earlier Gerry Adams had met with the Israeli Labour Party leader Isaac Herzog.
Commenting on the Israeli decision to deny him entry into Gaza Gerry Adams said:
"The decision by the Israeli authorities to refuse me entry into Gaza is deeply disappointing, particularly as I was able to spend two days there in 2009.
“My purpose on this visit has been to listen. Primarily I am here to learn. When asked I have also outlined the broad strategic approach Sinn Féin took to the Irish Peace Process.
“Central to our success has been the imperative of dialogue. But it also required participants to take risks for peace and to be prepared to try and understand other points of view.
“Preventing me from travelling to a Gaza and talking to those citizens who have survived three Israeli assaults in the last decade, and who are besieged and in need of massive aid to rebuild their shattered economy and society, runs contrary to the needs of a peace process and is very unhelpful.
“Both President Abbas and Dr Barghouti were able to outline the scale of the difficulties facing citizens of the Gaza Strip. Dr Barghouti spent three weeks there during the summer assault and provided me with a graphic account of the human cost of the Israeli ground invasion and its horrific impact on families and children and communities.
“The Israeli decision is a reminder of the imperative of supporting the Palestinian efforts to secure UN and international recognition of the Palestinian state. That campaign has seen some success in recent months and next month it will be debated in the European Parliament. It is also in a small way a reminder of the apartheid system that now applies.
“I raised the recognition of a Palestinian state with the Taoiseach this week in the Dáil and I intend to continue to raise it. The people of Palestine have the right to national statehood. It's not an issue for negotiation. It is a principle and a right. The international community has an obligation to support this and to uphold international law.”