[Sinn Fein]

24th November 2002

McLaughlin calls on Government to assist in a return to dialogue in Middle East

Sinn Fein Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin has described the shooting dead of a UN official and three Palestinian refugees and the wounding of Irish human rights activist Caoimhe Butterly, by the Israeli Army in Jenin, as an outrage. He said it was long past time for the United Nations to intervene. Mr. McLaughlin said:

``Last weeks wounding of Caoimhe Butterly brought home to Irish people the daily experience of ordinary Palestinians over the last number of years. The UN has a responsibility to take the Israeli government to task and to end the silence of the international community in relation to this and many other attacks.  

``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.

``It is imperative that Israel engages in genuine negotiation and dialogue with the Palestinian people and there is a clear role for the international community to help in such a process.

``I am calling on the Irish government to use its influence on the international stage, particularly the United Nations and the European Union, to assist in a return to dialogue between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.''

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