Irish Republican News · December 6, 2014
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Adams’s exclusion from Gaza ‘an example of apartheid’


Gerry Adams has said Israel has barred him from making a planned visit to the Gaza Strip during a three-day tour of the region. Mr Adams expressed disappointment at the decision preventing Friday’s trip to Gaza and added he was not given a reason for it.

“The decision by the Israeli authorities to refuse me entry into a Gaza is deeply disappointing, particularly as I was able to spend two days there in 2009,” he said.

“My purpose on this visit has been to listen. Primarily I am here to learn. When asked I have also outlined the broad strategic approach Sinn Fein took to the Irish Peace Process.”

An Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told journalists that Mr Adams was refused because he is considered hostile to Israel.

“Gerry Adams is certainly no friend of Israel. He’s not interested in meeting with anyone from the Israeli government but wants to go to Gaza to hang out with Hamas, “ the official said.

“We are trying to calm things down over here and Gerry Adams visiting Gaza would only stir up tension and not contribute to calm.”

However, it is understood no meeting with Hamas was planned or expected during the visit. Mr Adams, who has been strongly critical of the Hamas administration in Gaza, instead met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Labour Party leader Isaac Herzog.

The Sinn Fein leader said that while in Gaza, he had intended on meeting with NGOs, and visiting hospitals along other public institutions. He said the Israeli decision to refuse him access was an example of the “apartheid system” that now applies.

He also said the “huge” rates of poverty and unemployment among the Palestinian people and the restrictions on the movement of people and goods were in breach of international law.

“Five years later the situation has got worse and the pathway towards a lasting peace is uncertain.

“The lack of progress and the current tension requires sustained international attention.

“Those parties which are committed to building peace need support in their efforts to achieve a just and comprehensive negotiated settlement.”

He said the Irish peace process had been a success, and that he could have helped being this story to Gaza.

“Central to our success has been the imperative of dialogue. But it also required participants to take risks for peace and to be prepared to try and understand other points of view.

“Preventing me from travelling to Gaza and talking to those citizens who have survived three Israeli assaults in the last decade, and who are besieged and in need of massive aid to rebuild their shattered economy and society, runs contrary to the needs of a peace process and is very unhelpful.”

In recent weeks, a number of EU countries have belatedly moved to recognise the Palestinian state, and next month it will be debated in the European Parliament.

Mr Adams said he had raised the recognition of a Palestinian state with the Dublin government this week and he intend to continue to raising the issue. His party has also urged the 26-County Irish Defence Minister to pledge not to sign any military contracts with Israeli companies.

“The people of Palestine have the right to national statehood,” Mr Adams said. It’s not an issue for negotiation. It is a principle and a right. The international community has an obligation to support this and to uphold international law.”

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