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International community must act to ease despair in Palestine

19 October, 2004


Sinn Féin South Belfast MLA Alex Maskey and Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD briefed officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Dublin this afternoon on the worsening situation in Palestine. Mr Maskey called upon 'the international community to act immediately to ease the sense of despair in Palestine'.

Speaking on his return from Ramallah, Mr Maskey said:

"Myself and my colleague Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD briefed officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs on the worsening situation in Palestine. On my recent trip to Ramallah I was struck by the sense of despair and alienation many Palestinian people feel. There is a growing belief amongst Palestinians that the international community has abandoned them.

"The barrier erected by Israel continues to run through Palestinian land and separate families from each other. Many areas of Palestine are under curfew and people feel isolated and disconnected from each other and the outside world. The so-called 'Road Map for Peace‚ lies in tatters. The message from the Palestinian people is that 'the peace process is dead and we are bleeding on a daily basis'.

"It was important for me to give the Department of Foreign Affairs a first hand account of the situation which now exists within the Middle East. Sinn Féin seeks a commitment from Minister Ahern that he will use his influence to assist in the search for peace. It is imperative that the issue of the Middle East is made a policy priority for the Minister.

"We reiterate our call for the international community, under the direction of the UN to act immediately to ease the sense of despair felt in Palestine. An initiative is required to place pressure upon the Israeli Government to remove its troops and illegal settlements from Palestinian lands. I am also calling upon the EU to support the suspension of preferential trade with Israel." ENDS

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