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3 August 2006 Edition

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Editorial - Kick the warmongers out of Shannon Airport

The world is outraged at the US-backed Israeli bombardment and invasion of Lebanon yet the Irish Government continues to allow Shannon Airport to be used as a staging post for US military operations in the Middle East. It was claimed this week that the Irish Government would not allow the passage of weapons destined for Israel but this is a pathetic response. Is it the case that those who deliberately bomb children in Lebanon are unacceptable in Shannon while those who deliberately bomb children in Iraq are acceptable? That is the morally bankrupt position of the Irish Government.

Similarly at EU level the Irish Government has defended the position adopted by Foreign Ministers this week which fell short of a call for an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon and Israel. Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern tried to claim that the EU call amounted to a ceasefire demand but he was contradicted by his own colleague Senator Mary O'Rourke who pointed out at an emergency meeting of the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee that the statement urging a 'cessation of hostilities' falls short of what is required and allows an 'out' to Israel.

On a positive note, that Oireachtas Committee adopted unanimously a resolution calling for EU trade sanctions against Israel. This was backed by Sinn Féin International Affairs spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD who pointed out that he had made a similar proposal to the Committee a year ago but was opposed by Fine Gael and others.

As predicted, the so-called 'war on terror' initiated by George Bush and his supine ally Tony Blair is resulting in an escalating nightmare for millions of innocent civilians in the Middle East. There is no doubt that the slaughter of over 50 civilians, 37 of them children, in the Israeli bombing of Quana was deliberate, as was the bombing of the UN compound in which four UN personnel were killed last week. The complete disempowerment of the UN itself by the US and its allies was seen in the failure of the Security Council to condemn Israel for this attack. This raises serious questions for the Irish Government. Should Irish troops continue to be deployed under an unreformed UN Security Council which cannot even condemn a military power that deliberately kills UN personnel?

The shame of Shannon must be ended. The jury who acquitted the five campaigners who damaged the US warplanes at Shannon have shown the way. For the Irish Government to retain any semblance of an independent foreign policy it must refuse to allow Shannon Airport to be used by the US military.

An Phoblacht Magazine

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