[Sinn Fein]

12th April 2002

Welcome for Palestinian Ambassador in Cork

Sinn Fein Councillor Jonathan O Brien today welcomed Dr Ali Halimeh, the Palestinian Ambassador, to Cork. He also called on the Irish government to persuade the international community to increase the pressure, including by means of economic sanctions, to stop the slaughter of Palestinians.

Jonathan O Brien said: ``I welcome this timely visit of Dr. Ali Halimeh to Cork where I believe there is great sympathy for the Palestinian people. Cork in the past suffered greatly under a foreign army attempting by all means possible to break the sprit of freedom, the desire to have an independent homeland. It is also my belief that Cork people see the only solution to this conflict as the establishment of a free and independent Palestinian state. 

Dr. Ali Halimeh, comes to Cork at a time when the Israeli Army is daily visiting atrocities on his people. Men, women and children, are being massacred in their towns and refugee camps, men are being taken away to be tortured, homes and businesses and medical facilities are being destroyed. We must not stand by while this slaughter is taking place.

I call on the Irish government to use all its influence to bring a halt to these atrocities. The international community must put intolerable pressure on Israel to withdraw behind its borders immediately. International sanctions will send a very direct message to the Israeli government. Mr Ariel Sharon, should be warned that he will be brought before an International war crimes tribunal. 

Ireland, which is so acutely aware of what it is like to live under foreign occupation, should be in the forefront of support for the Palestinian people.''

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