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Adams - The international community must take a stand to stop the massacre in Lebanon

21 July, 2006


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP said “The peace process in the Middle East stands in ruins and the period ahead could see an escalating crisis right across that region.”  He said “The major powers have ignored the UN and pushed a limited agenda based on big security issues and what they describe as the war against terrorism. They have actively undermined the efforts of the UN.  All international focus should be on getting a cessation of all military activities and moving on into a comprehensive and inclusive settlement.”

Mr. Adams said:

”The last twelve months have seen a major deterioration of the situation in the Middle East.   The hostile reaction of the Israelis, the European Union and the United States to the election of Hamas, the withdrawal of financial support to the Palestinian government, and the violence, including the deaths of scores of Palestinians in Israeli attacks in Gaza and elsewhere and the subsequent kidnapping of an Israeli soldier, has seen the region lurch from crisis to crisis and to open warfare with Israel invading Gaza and destroying much of its limited infrastructure. Since the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by Hizbullah the situation has escalated dreadfully with over 300 civilians killed in Israeli bomb attacks in Lebanon and over 20 Israeli civilians also killed. This situation seems destined to worsen for as long as the international community refuses to take a principled stand.  

The UN clearly has the potential to be more effective than it currently is. The major powers have ignored the UN and pushed a limited agenda based on big security issues and what they describe as the war against terrorism. They have sidelined the general assembly of the UN and pushed issues into the Security Council where they have a veto. They have actively undermined the efforts of the UN.

President Bush has consistently given support to Israel and in recent days Washington has used its veto to obstruct action by the UN Security Council. So not only has there not been a halt to hostilities between Israeli forces and Palestinians, including the mass arrests of elected Palestinian politicians, there have also been escalating attacks in Lebanon in contravention of international law. The peace process in the Middle East stands in ruins and the period ahead could see an escalating crisis right across that region.

”All international focus should be on getting a cessation of all military activities and moving on into a comprehensive and inclusive settlement. Both the USA and British governments, as well as the European Union need to support that position. That is what will eventually have to happen anyway if sense is to made of the mess that is now deepening. So why not now?

The Irish government can play a constructive role in this by working with other states towards that objective. It has to be based on the rights of the people of Palestine and the people of Israel to live in mutual respect and peaceful co-existence. The cutting off of aid or the refusal to recognise democratically elected governments, or the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers, should be any part of this.

For some time there has been a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Anyone who visits there comes back distressed by the poverty and the third world conditions. Recent attacks on essential services like electricity, water and sewage and the lack of food, have made a dreadful situation even worse. Now this policy is being shifted to the Lebanon. It may be that elements in the more powerful western states believe that it is in their interests to allow the Israelis to militarily defeat Hizbullah. I don’t know if that is possible. The Irish experience tells us that political problems require political solutions. And so with the Middle East.  A settlement there is long overdue. It cannot happen without the active involvement of the international community.”

Mr. Adams also outlined his intention to proceed with plans to visit Israel and Palestine in the coming months.   He was invited by President Mahmoud Abbas to visit Palestine some time ago but the visit was delayed due to crisis both in Ireland and the Middle East.
 







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