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Israel must lift blockade of Gaza immediately – Ó Snodaigh

23 January, 2008

Speaking as a demonstration gathered outside Leinster House today in solidarity with the people of Gaza Sinn Féin International Affairs Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD said Israel must immediately lift its blockade of Gaza and said he has written to Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern and asked him to review Ireland's relations with Israel in view of the country's continued human rights abuses against the Palestinian people.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said today, "The blockade of Gaza by Israel is causing huge untold hardships for the Palestinian people living there. Israel has no right to be doing what it is doing and should lift this blockade immediately.

"This week, four days after Israel stepped up its blockade of Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been quoted as saying, 'As far as I'm concerned, all the residents of Gaza can walk and have no fuel for their cars, because they have a murderous terrorist regime that doesn't allow people in the south of Israel to live in peace'. He also stated that he will not allow Palestinians in Gaza to live comfortable lives. This clearly amounts to collective punishment which is banned under the Geneva conventions.

"I have written to Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern to ask him to review Ireland's relationship with Israel in light of its continued human rights abuses against the Palestinian people. I have also asked for this Government to support an end to the EU's policy of preferential trade with Israel and I will be demanding that time is set aside in the Dáil when it resumes to debate this issue.

"Israel has a long history of human rights abuses against the people of Palestine. These abuses will continue until such a time when international pressure is brought to bear on this rogue state. The Irish Government has a role to play here and I feel they should take a lead in this and set an example to other European states that Ireland will not stand idly by while Israel continues to persecute the people of Palestine." ENDS

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