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Israel must also remove its military from Palestine - Mary Lou McDonald

18 August, 2006

Sinn Féin National Chairperson and MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has today said that the Israeli Army must begin the immediate withdrawal of its troops from Palestine.

Ms McDonald made her comments as the Israeli Army begins a partial pullout from Southern Lebanon to make way for Lebanese troops and an expanded United Nations Force.

Speaking today Ms McDonald said:

"The ceasefire between Hizbullah and Israel should act as the catalyst for the immediate withdrawal of Israeli occupying forces from Palestine and from the West Bank in particular.

"Over the past number of weeks the focus of the world‚s attention has understandably been on the crisis in Southern Lebanon. However during this time Israel has used the cloak of distraction to extend its military occupation of Palestine.

"What we have witnessed in Palestine over the past number of weeks is the collective repression of the civilian population. The direct targeting of essential services such as electricity and water supplies are in direct contravention of the Geneva Convention and designed to inflict maximum hardship on tens of thousands of innocent people.

"As in Lebanon, the Israeli occupation of Palestine was not about the retrieval of its captured troops. It was about flexing its military muscle and reiterating its total disregard for Arab lives.

"With an internationally recognized ceasefire coming into force in Lebanon, it is vitally important that the plight of the Palestinian people is not ignored. Israel should immediately and unconditionally remove its troops from Palestinian land.

"The Palestinian people also deserve to be free from Israeli occupation." ENDS

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