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UNESCO membership is a milestone towards freedom for the Palestinian people – Sinn Féin

1 November, 2011 - by Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, has described the vote to accept Palestine as a full member at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), as a “milestone towards freedom for the Palestinian people.”

The organisation voted by an overwhelming margin of 107 nations for to 14 against with 52 abstentions.

Deputy Mac Lochlainn welcomed the Irish Government's support for the application, describing this as “representative of the wishes of the vast majority of the Irish people.”

He said:

“This is truly wonderful news for the beleaguered Palestinian people. It is a clear signal that the international community supports their struggle for justice and freedom and their right to statehood. It is a milestone to freedom for the Palestinian people.

“The response of the US Administration to the vote has been deeply disappointing and disingenuous. Firstly, they have now removed US funding from UNESCO in line with deeply undemocratic US legislation passed in the 1990s. Secondly, any suggestion by the US that efforts by the Palestinian people to attain recognition of their statehood at the UN or elsewhere “undermines peace negotiations” is patent nonsense.

“Israel has full recognition of their state internationally despite not having clearly defined borders due to their ongoing plundering of Palestinian land to facilitate illegal settlements. It is these actions that have undermined a peace settlement yet the US stands idly by and placates Israel at every turn.

“The ‘Arab Spring’ is an opportunity for the US and European Union to build new relationships of trust in this region that has been blighted by conflict and failed by the international community. The US and the EU must now step up to their responsibilities to confront illegal Israeli settlements and broker a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine.”

Deputy Mac Lochlainn concluded:

“I welcome the Irish Government's vote in support of the Palestinian Authority's application to UNESCO. Ireland's reputation in the field of human rights and justice is immense and the Palestinian Mission to Ireland has conveyed to me their delight at the support of the Irish Government. This important vote is representative of the wishes of the vast majority of the Irish people.”

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