Minister Ahern calls for urgent end to isolation of the people of Gaza
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern TD, this afternoon accepted a petition from Trócaire calling for the removal of the security barrier in the Occupied Territories.
Speaking at Leinster House, Minister Ahern stated that the petition underlined the strong support in Ireland for Israeli and Palestinian leaders who are working to build a lasting and just peace based on the establishment of a viable, independent and democratic Palestinian State. He emphasised the Government’s serious concern that events on the ground in the West Bank and Gaza threaten to undermine the political process launched at Annapolis in November.
The Minister stated:
“This should be a time of hope and opportunity for Israelis and Palestinians. Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas have shown great courage in beginning negotiations with the aim of reaching a final status agreement by the end of this year. But there is now a real danger that events on the ground will seriously undermine the political process. The continued expansion of settlements and the building of the security barrier on occupied land are clearly illegal under international law. They are also a significant obstacle to peace.
I am particularly concerned about the violence in Gaza and the deterioration in the conditions of daily life for families in the territory. There are no military solutions available. The time has come for an end to all violence in and from the Occupied Territories. I repeat my call for an end to the isolation of the people of Gaza, the opening of crossing points for people and supplies, and a genuine freeze on the construction of settlements anywhere in the Occupied Territories. Decisive action is urgently needed to give the political process a real chance to succeed”.
22nd January 2008