[Sinn Fein]

19th February 2003

Attacks on Palestine show hypocrisy behind drive to war

Sinn Fein spokesperson on International Affairs Aengus Ó Snodaigh has branded last night s attacks by Israeli forces on Palestine, which left at least eleven people dead as ``criminal''. He said the muted response to these attacks and the clear breaches of UN resolutions that they represent stands in stark contrast to the attitude of the US and Britain in relation to Iraq.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said: ``The British and US response to the continued criminal attacks on Palestine by Israeli forces which last night left at least eleven people dead and resulted in the demolition of more than forty buildings shows their hypocrisy on a drive to war with Iraq.

``UN resolutions are being flouted openly and with devastating and deadly consequences for the Palestinian people on a daily basis. Where is the rush to bring to justice the perpetrators of those acts? Where is the moral outrage about attacks on defenceless civilian populations by a country that possess weapons of mass destruction?

``The hypocrisy of all of this is glaring. And the Irish government through its stance on the war on Iraq are party to that hypocrisy. Yesterday the Taoiseach and Minister for Foreign Affairs hinted that Ireland would not oppose a unilateral attack on Iraq by the US. This is in direct contradiction of both our responsibilities as a neutral state and as a member of the UN.

``The government would be better employed and actually representative of the people who elected it if it adopted a more progressive and proactive stance against war and for peace if it took it s lead from other UN countries like New Zealand and South Africa.

``The ending of apartheid in South Africa and the positive role the post-aparthied government played in our own peace process shows us what can be achieved through dialogue and negotiation. And the position adopted by New Zealand indicates that a relatively small country like our own can have a positive independent foreign policy.'' ENDS

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