Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Bairbre de Brún speaks on motion 98

20 February, 2009 - by Martina Anderson MEP


The weak international response to the death of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza, the ongoing blockade, the continued occupation settlements on the West Bank and the apartheid wall has shocked people across the world. People are particularly horrified that more than 1,000 Palestinians have been killed in the recent Israeli offensive in Gaza, including more than 300 children.

The lack of decisive action particularly from EU leaders and the US exacerbated the humanitarian crisis, gave the Israeli government the green light to defy international human rights norms and has led to a growing number of young Palestinians asking what the western world's definition of democracy is.

A pro-active, long-term strategy from Europe and the new US administration must include the right of the Palestinians to a viable state based on the pre-1967 borders; the freezing of all settlement activity in the Occupied Territories; and the demolition of the apartheid wall.

The illegal Israeli blockage that has been in place for since June 2007 must also end.

We need security for Israel and a free Palestinian state but the days of Israel using the excuse of security to slaughter innocent Palestinians must end, and a genuine process of engagement must begin.

The EU must use the levers it has through the human rights provisions of its preferential trade agreements. It must suspend the European Union-Israel Association Agreement for as long as Israel does not comply with international as well as humanitarian law.

I was last in Palestine as an international observer to the 2006 democratic elections. The outcome of this election needs be recognised. In a few days time I will once again travel to Palestine to engage directly with people on the ground.

The message I will be taking, hopefully with full endorsement of this Ard Fheis, is that inclusive dialogue and political negotiation is the only way forward, and that all actions must conform to international human rights standards.

I urge everyone to support motion 98.

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