2 April 2009 Edition
Adams to visit Gaza
SINN FÉIN President Gerry Adams is to visit the Middle East next week. Adams has on several occasions raised the necessity of a negotiated peace settlement in the region with US Presidents Clinton and Bush as well British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
In September 2006 Adams visited Israel and the Palestinian territory on the west Bank.
During that visit the Israeli government refused to meet with the Sinn Féin President.
In his weekly blog for the Belfast Media Group Adams says that the situation has seriously deteriorated since he last visited the region as most clearly seen in the recent assault on Gaza by Israeli forces which killed over 1,400 Palestinians.
“My purpose in travelling to the region again is to meet as wide a range of Israeli and Palestinian opinion as practicable. So next week I will again visit Israel and Ramallah. But this time I will also travel into Gaza and Sderot and Ramallah where I will meet with senior members of the Palestinian Authority. I again asked for a meeting with the Israeli government or with government officials. But again this has been refused because I will not give a commitment not to speak with Hamas representatives. I very much regret the Israeli government decision”.
DIALOGUE IS KEY
Adams said that as the leader of a party which was censored and demonised and whose members were killed, he sees dialogue between all sides as key to building a successful peace process. He said he will meet with all sides and urge all sides to end all armed actions and to engage in meaningful dialogue.
“I believe there should be a complete cessation of all hostilities and freedom of movement for everyone. The big challenge is to bring about a settlement on the basis of a two state solution. This requires a sustainable and durable state for the Palestinian people. They share the region with their Israeli neighbours. Without doubt the security of the people of Israel is linked inextricably to the rights, freedom and prosperity of the people of Palestine. They can co-exist peacefully together. I am certain about that”, Adams said.
Drawing comparisons between the peace process in Ireland and efforts to resolve the conflict in the Middle East, Adams said would be “foolhardy”. While there are similarities there are also significant differences.
But the Sinn féin President said it is clear that finding solutions will require leadership on both sides, and a willingness to take risks, initiatives, and compromise.
“And it will need the international community, and particularly the USA, to play a very positive and active role. In this respect I welcome the appointment of George Mitchell as US Envoy to the Middle East”, he said adding that “despite all the difficulties, I am convinced that the conflict in the Middle East can be ended. A solution is possible. Everyone has a duty to do whatever we can, modest though that may be, to assist the process to bring this about”.
Read Gerry Adams weekly blog @ leargas.blogspot.com