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Sinn Féin demands firm action against Israel after massacre

4 June, 2010 - by Pat Sheehan, Raymond McCartney, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, Westminster


Sinn Féin has expressed outrage at the massacre of Gaza Freedom Flotilla aid activists in international waters by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) on May 31 and demanded “the strongest possible action” against Israel by the Irish government, United Nations and European Union.

The UN must take swift action against Israel for this flagrant breach of international law, and in order to end the deadly siege of the Gaza Strip, the party said.

Sinn Féin representatives have called on the Irish government to:

-       Take action to ensure the safety of those on board the Irish-flagged ship the Rachel Corrie, currently en route to Gaza

-       Expel the Israeli Ambassador from Dublin

-       Initiate a trade boycott of Israel at national and EU level

-       Push for the immediate suspension of the EU’s preferential trade agreements (Israel-EU Association Agreement and Euro-Med Agreement)

-       Seek the backing of other countries for a new international aid mission to deliver vital aid to the besieged people of Gaza

Expel Israeli Ambassador

Sinn Féin leaders attended the demonstrations in Dublin, Belfast and Derry on May 31 to protest Israel’s attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

Speaking from the Belfast demonstration, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said: “This murderous attack is an affront to international law and has endangered the lives of Irish citizens. It requires a firm and resolute response by the Irish government which must now expel the Israeli Ambassador.

“The government must also use its influence to discontinue the EU’s preferential trade agreements with Israel.”

Break the siege of Gaza

Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh, and the two other Oireachtas members, Chris Andrews TD and Senator Mark Daly, were due to participate in the Freedom Flotilla but had been prevented from doing so on Sunday May 30 by Cypriot authorities, at the behest of Israel.

Condemning the “cold and calculated” assault, Deputy Ó Snodaigh said: “This was a humanitarian aid mission carrying 10,000 tonnes of aid to the besieged people of Gaza. The blockade of Gaza is illegal under international law.”

Sinn Féin has repeatedly demanded an end to the illegal blockade of Gaza since it intensified after Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian Authority elections. The party has called on the UN, and EU and US governments to force Israel to open the borders, and several representatives including Gerry Adams and MEP Bairbre de Brún have visited Gaza since the 2008/09 Israeli war on the territory to raise awareness of the people’s suffering and build pressure for an end to the siege.

The party has also since 2006 demanded that the EU respect the democratic mandate of the Hamas-run PA in the Gaza Strip and restore full and direct aid to the government.

Isolate Israeli regime

Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has called on the Taoiseach to initiate a trade boycott of Israel at national and EU level.

On June 1 Deputy Ó Caoláin said: “It is the failure of EU governments, including the Irish government, to match words with deeds that has helped Israel to act with impunity.

“The Taoiseach should now match his words with deeds and initiate an Irish trade boycott of Israel. He should push for a trade boycott at EU level also as a matter of urgency.”

Sinn Féin TDs have also challenged the Irish government on its support for Israeli membership of the OECD.

On May 31, Bairbre de Brún MEP called for the “strongest possible action” by the EU in response to the flotilla attack.

 “The Israeli government has compounded its illegal actions in blockading Gaza with this horrifying attack on the flotilla carrying aid,” she said.

“The EU must suspend its preferential trade agreement with Israel and ensure that it can only be re-instated if Israel ends its blatant disregard for international law and basic human rights.”

Protect Rachel Corrie ship

On June 1, as the Irish Rachel Corrie ship travelled towards Gaza, Gerry Adams said: “Much of the humanitarian cargo aboard the Rachel Corrie and the other ships, including cement for the reconstruction effort in Gaza, are prohibited under the Israeli blockade and would not reach those in need in Gaza. That is why the flotilla was put together in the first place.

“Given the outrageous Israeli aggression to the first ships and their crews in the convoy the world’s eyes will now be on how the Irish vessel is treated. The Irish government need to send out a clear signal that they are standing firmly with the crew of this Irish-registered vessel and take strong measures to ensure that the Israeli military back off and allow the Rachel Corrie to sail uninhibited into Gaza and unload its cargo of aid.”

As well as calling for the protection of those on the Rachel Corrie now attempting to deliver aid, Mr Adams also called on the Irish government to “seek the backing of other countries for a new international aid mission to Gaza which will ensure that necessary vital supplies reach the suffering people of that besieged area”.

Protest

On June 1, Sinn Féin called for condemnation of the Israeli attack in the Assembly in the North of Ireland.

Assembly member Raymond McCartney said: “Sinn Féin will continue to highlight the systematic oppression of the Palestinian people and urge the United Nations to take swift and effective action against Israel following the attack on the aid convoy and also in relation to their continued illegal blockade of Gaza.”

A Sinn Féin leadership delegation due to meet with Taoiseach Brian Cowen tomorrow, May 3, will raise the attack against the flotilla and seek resolute action from the Irish government.

Sinn Féin is also supporting the wide range of protest actions planned for this weekend across Ireland protesting Israel’s actions and demanding an end to the blockade of Gaza.

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