Statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs on the situation in the Middle East
The Government deplore the sharp escalation of violence in recent days which has seen the killing of innocent policemen, horrific suicide bomb and mortar attacks against Israeli civilians, and excessive and disproportionate retaliation by Israel.
The Government welcome the Report of the Fact-Finding Committee established under Senator Mitchell, published today. The Report sets out a series of recommendations on how to end the violence in the Middle East.
These recommendations, which are broadly similar to those made in the initiative undertaken recently by Egypt and Jordan, include a series of measures designed to bring a halt to the current violence and open a way towards the resumption of peace negotiations.
These measures include the reaffirmation of existing agreements, the cessation of violence, the resumption of security cooperation, a"cooling-off period", and the discouragement of incitement in all its forms.
They also call for a freeze on all settlement activity, the lifting of closures of Palestinian towns, transfer to the Palestinian Authority of all tax revenues owed, permission for Palestinians to return to their jobs in Israel, and for Israeli security forces and settlers to refrain from the destruction of homes, roads, trees and agricultural property.
These measures are similar to those contained in the draft Resolution tabled by Ireland and three other European countries at the UN Security Council in March.
The Government are convinced that such measures offer the only possible path out of the current violence and towards a peaceful solution of this tragic conflict which continues to cost so many lives.
The Government call on both sides to move quickly to adopt the measures recommended by Mitchell and others and, in the meantime, to act urgently to halt further acts of violence and, in particular, to do all in their power to avert any further escalation of the violence.Top