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International pressure must be brought to bear on Israel

6 March, 2008


Sinn Féin International Affairs and Human Rights Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has called on the Government to use next week's European Council meeting to propose a suspension of the EU preferential trade agreement with Israel in a protest action against Israel's illegal collective punishment of Palestinians in Gaza.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh was speaking today after human rights and aid organisations reported that the situation in Gaza now is worse than in the last forty years.

He said, "There is an urgent need for international political pressure to be brought to bear on Israel. This rogue state has a long history of human rights abuses against the people of Palestine and they will continue in this vein until such a time as the international community applies pressure including sanctions.

"The European Council External Relations meeting is taking place in Dublin next week. This body has the power to suspend the trade agreement in light of Israel's human rights abuses and its illegal collective punishment of Palestinian in Gaza.

"I am proposing that the Irish Government take the lead with this and propose at next week's meeting that the EU preferential trade agreement with Israel is suspended.

"The human rights situation in Gaza is now worse than at any time in the last forty years. Over 125 people have been killed in the latest assault including 22 children.

"Hospitals are suffering 12-hours-per-day power cuts as a result of Israel's blockade of Gaza, the water and sewage systems are close to collapse and unemployment levels are rising.

"The Palestinian people can wait no longer for help. The time for action is now and I am calling on the Irish Government to take the lead." ENDS

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