tell Rory O'Hanlon, Michael D., Sean Ardagh, Alan Shatter, Mark Daly to visit Gaza

02/03/2008 - 00:00

Irish delegation to visit Middle East Monday 3rd March

but not GAZA!

contact these politicians immediately to ask them to visit gaza, stop the massacre and tell the world the truth about what is happening there.

Cross-party politicians will visit Israel and Palestine this week as the two states attempt to learn from the Northern Ireland peace process.

A delegation from the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs will meet non-governmental organisations (NGOs), United Nations' representatives and teams involved in the peace talks.

The troubled region has seen an upsurge in violence over the last few days with rocket attacks by Hamas militants in Gaza and missiles fired by the Israelis.

Almost 100 Palestinians and two Israeli soldiers have been killed in four days of fighting, prompting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to condemn Israel for using excessive force.

The five-day visit from tomorrow follows a series of meetings the Joint Committee had with members of the Knesset and Palestinian representatives in Ireland last year.

Committee chairman Dr Michael Woods said the visit was an opportunity to strengthen ties between Ireland, Israel and Palestine and to support efforts towards a lasting peace.

The delegation will travel to Ramallah, to meet senior members of the Palestinian Authority, including Foreign Minister Riad Al Malki and Ahmed Qurai, head of the negotiating team in the peace talks.

They will also meet members of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

They will be briefed on the plight of ordinary Palestinians by Karen Abu Zayad, head of the UN's work and relief agency and will meet NGOs involved in human rights. The delegation will also visit Bethlehem University.

In Israel they will meet prominent politicians including Isaac Herzog, Social Welfare Minister, and Yossi Beilin, leader of the opposition Meretz Party.

Talks will focus on progress in the peace process and they will also visit the town of Sderot and have a round table discussion with human rights workers.

The TDs and Senator will also attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum.

The delegation was invited to the region by Tzachi Hanegbi, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Israeli Knesset and by the Palestinian Authorities.