[Sinn Fein]

3rd December 2001

Israeli strikes on the Palestinian Authority must end

Sinn Fein Chairperson, Mitchel McLaughlin speaking following a meeting of the party's Coiste Seasta in Dublin today called on the Israeli government to immediately end attacks on the Palestinian Authority and to withdraw it's tanks from the West Bank. He called on the International Community to oppose this aggression and to prevent further deaths.

Mr. McLaughlin said:

``I condemn last weekend's suicide attacks in Israel however yesterday's direct attacks against the Palestinian Authority and the re-entry of tanks into the West Bank by the Israeli government will do nothing to enhance the chances of peace in the region.

``Israel's targeting of the leader of the Palestinian Authority is wrong and totally counter-productive to the cause of peace. The International Community has a duty to bring pressure to bear on Israel to end its attacks on the Palestinian people which has resulted in the deaths of almost 800 men, women and children during the past twelve months.

``It is clear that there will be no military or security solution to the problems of the Middle East. Israel must engage in genuine negotiation and dialogue with the Palestinian people. This attack on the Palestinian Authority and the re-entry of Israeli tanks into the West Bank will only inflame tensions further and make Yassar Arafat's position and the cause of peace in the Middle East more difficult.'' ENDS

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