International initiative needed to secure the rights of Palestinians - McDonald
Speaking today after a wreath laying ceremony at the mausoleum of Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald said:
“It was an honour to lay a wreath at the mausoleum of Yasser Arafat.
“Yasser Arafat demonstrated leadership to secure a peace agreement in Oslo, an agreement that was supposed to lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state.
“He was a champion of Palestinian liberation and he believed that peace between the Israeli government and Palestinians could and should be achieved.
“Since his death the Israeli military have continued to brutalise Palestinians and build illegal settlements. We now see the development and implementation of apartheid laws and policies to separate communities and subjugate Palestinians.
“I have spent the last number of days traveling in the West Bank and witnessed the daily hardships facing the Palestinian people as they go about their lives. No community should be forced to live in these conditions and with these restrictions.
“The cause of peace and the development of a two-state agreement must continue.
“The actions of the Israeli military must end and violent confrontations must stop.
“This repression by the Israeli state and intensification of the settlement strategy across the West Bank is in direct violation of successive international laws and united nations resolutions.
“In Ireland we know the cost of conflict but also the possibility of peace.
“I would appeal to all Palestinian groups to work together to build national unity.
“The only way forward is through a credible peace process and roadmap towards a viable independent Palestinian state.
“There is an urgent need for a new international initiative to uphold the rights of the Palestinian people to a peaceful and democratic homeland.
“The Dáil have a role to play in supporting the Occupied Territories Bill and the Irish Government must enact the resolution to recognise the State of Palestine with immediate effect.”