[Sinn Fein]

14th March 2002

McLaughlin welcomes UN resolution on Palestine

Israeli actions must end

Sinn Fein Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin today welcomed the UN resolution supporting the establishment of a Palestine state as `long overdue but a significant first step'.  Mr. McLaughlin said:

"Those of us who have been centrally involved in the Irish Peace Process can clearly see  that the wholly disproportionate level of violence directed against the Palestinians people by the Israeli forces is reinforcing the cycle of violence and contributing to the continuation of attacks on Israelis. And is making the task of building a sustainable peace in the Middle East all the more difficult.

"The daily violence in the Middle East is a source of great distress. The suicide attacks, the killing of civilians, the invasion by Israel of Palestinian territory and the deliberate targeting for assassination of Palestinian leaders should end.

"I support the Palestinian National Authority's call on all Palestinian organisations to enforce a comprehensive ceasefire and to halt operations against Israel.

''I welcome the development by the UN. The resolution is a significant but long overdue step. It must be followed up with real action. The UN has a responsibility to take the Israeli government to task over recent actions against the Palestine people.

''The Palestinian people have suffered a plight akin to that of our own people. Whole communities have been evicted and uprooted. Their country has been occupied and partitioned and over seven million forced into exile throughout the world.

''I want to express my own and my party's solidarity with the people of the Middle East at this terrible time in their history.  I sincerely hope that the UN resolution will mark the beginning of the end of the deafening silence from the international community in relation to Israeli attacks.''

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