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EU must not reward Israel for breaking law and destroying airports – Ellis

29 May, 2013 - by Dessie Ellis TD

Sinn Féin Transport spokesperson has condemned the EU-Israel Aviation Agreement which sets out to integrate air travel markets between the EU and Israel. He made his comments during an Oireachtas Committee debate on the Agreement, saying that the EU should not be rewarding Israel for its continued flouting of International Law and the destruction of Gaza Airport part funded by the EU.

 Deputy Ellis continued;

"This agreement ignores the many problems this state and the EU has with the behaviour of Israel. Israel at present continues to occupy Palestine and enforce an illegal blockade on Gaza which denies, what is effectively the largest prison camp in the world, sufficient humanitarian aid to prevent the most horrible deprivation or rebuild following the onslaught of the Israeli army.

Israel's has shown complete disdain and disregard for human rights and international law.

This state, the EU and its member states have spoken out strongly against these abuses and are fully aware of them, but we continually reward Israel with economic agreements and deals, unavailable to most states which neighbour the EU.

In 2001 Israeli destroyed Yasser Arafat International Airport in Gaza. The airport, run by the Palestinian Authority, opened in 1998 was bombed by the Israeli army. The airport was built with funding from EU member states, as well as other countries, and the total cost was $86 million. Israeli bulldozers cut the runway apart in January 2002 and did more damage again in 2006 after a ramp at the airport was used for a world record attempt by Gazan teenagers.

After the destruction of Gaza airport by Israeli army, the International Civil Aviation Organization ICAO condemned Israel for the destruction of a civilian airport and navigational devices used for civilian purposes only.

The only remaining runway in Gaza after 2002 is that of the Gaza Airstrip, but an Israeli air blockade of Gaza prevents it from being used.

Israel denies Palestinian's the right to freedom of movement, a basic and fundamental human right. Yet the EU thinks it is correct and proper to sign an aviation agreement with Israel.

This is an agreement which completely ignores Israel's crimes against the rights of Palestinian's to travel freely in and out of their own country. An agreement which ignores Israel's crimes of destroying civilian transport facilitates in Gaza and the West Bank. Facilities which were funded by EU member states"

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