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Condoleezza Rice must tell Israel to end bombardment of Lebanon and Palestine

24 July, 2006

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today called upon the United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to "use her influence to bring the Israeli bombardment to an end".

Ms de Brún made her comments as Condoleezza Rice travelled to the Middle East to meet with Lebanese and Israeli officials.

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

"Condoleezza Rice should use her visit to the Middle East to exert pressure on Israel to end its bombardment and collective punishments of both the Lebanese and Palestinian people.

"Day after day Israel‚s grip on the region tightens with air strikes and land incursions a regular occurrence. The constant bombardment of Lebanon and Palestine must end - as must the rocket attacks by Hezbollah. It has been estimated that 600,000 people have been displaced as a result of the Israeli shelling. Israel stands accused of using wholly disproportionate force in Lebanon, and as a consequence the civilian populations are left to pick up the pieces.

"Given the specific connections between the US and Israel, Condoleezza Rice can exert pressure on the Israeli government to bring its military aggression to a halt. Innocent civilians are dying as a result of this crisis. Action is required, not continued politicking or grandstanding. It is essential that the international community act decisively to ease the despair felt in places like Southern Beirut and the Gaza Strip.

„Whatever the actions of non governmental actors in the region, the Israeli government has no justification for their present wave of attacks. This is the clear and unequivocal message that needs to be delivered by the international community and in particular by the US and EU." ENDS

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