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EU should suspend preferrential trade with Israel following latest killings and destruction of Palestinian homes

18 May, 2004

Sinn Féin spokesperson on International Affairs Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has called on the Minister for Foreign Affairs to leave the Israeli Government in no doubt as to the opposition of Ireland and the other EU member states to that country's latest criminal activities by moving to suspend preferrential trade between the EU and Israel.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said: "The activities of the Israeli Army and Government are nothing short of war crimes against a civilian population. It is absolutely unacceptable for the European Union to meekly sit on its hands as the destruction of Palestinian homes and lives continues unabated. It is an outrage that the EU continues a preferrential trade relationship with Israel under these circumstances.

"It is clear that Israeli is immune to both criticism and pleadings for restraint. It is not good enough anymore to tolerate this type of activity with mild rebukes. The Israeli Government needs to be sent a very clear message that their actions will not be tolerated by the European Union. If ever there was a time for the EU member states to use peaceful leverage in the service of human rights it is now.

"In these last hours of the Irish EU Presidency the Irish Government has a crucial role to play. The Sharon Government must be made to pay a price for their crimes. At the very, very least, preferrential EU trade with Israel must end immediately. The EU must invoke Articles 2 and 79 of the EU-Israel Association Agreement that makes preferrential trade dependent on respect for human rights."ENDS

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