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EU talking tough - Israel not listening - Time for Action

7 January, 2009

Following yesterdays attack by Israel on a number of UN shelters and schools in Gaza Sinn Féin North West EU Candidate and Donegal Councillor Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has said the time for tough talk has passed; it is now time for action. He called on the Irish government to immediately convene a meeting with its EU counterparts to agree the suspension of the Unions preferential trade agreements with Israel.

The Donegal Councillor said:

“Yesterdays bombing by Israel’s military forces on a number of UN shelters and schools in Gaza must immediately impress upon the Irish government and EU leaders that the time for condemnation alone has passed. Reports that a ceasefire may be agreed are to be welcomed however with Israel continuing its attacks overnight and some reports of military activity throughout the day the EU cannot continue to take a softly softly approach with Israel.

“The death toll in Gaza in rapidly increasing and the regions poor infrastructure is beyond recognition. Since June 2007 the people have Gaza have suffered from Israel’s ongoing blockade of food, fuel and humanitarian aid. The horrendous effects of the current military attack will be felt by the people of Gaza for many years to come.

“The EU cannot continue to shirk its responsibility to promote peace in the region. Israel enjoys many economic privileges from its relationship with the EU. But these trade agreements are underpinned by Israel’s agreements with the EU. These include the Barcelona Declaration which obliges signatories to respect the territorial integrity and unity of each of the other partners and the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership Agreement which obliges Israel to abide by generally recognised principles of international law and the Association Agreement article 2 of which makes preferential trade conditional on Israel respecting human rights and democratic principles. Israel is now, and arguably always has been, in breach of these agreements.

"The time for tough words from international leaders has been and gone as it is clear that Israel is not listening. Now is the time for action.

"The Irish government along with its EU counterparts must convene immediately to agree the suspension of the Unions preferential trade agreements with Israel.

"World peace and stability is in the interests and responsibilities of all sovereign nations and that includes peace in the Middle East. What is required is of course security for Israel and a free Palestinian state but the days of Israel using the excuse of security to slaughter innocent Palestinians must finally be brought to an end." ENDS

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