Immediate international protection needed for Palestinian civilians, says Martina Anderson

IRISH GUE/NGL MEP Martina Anderson (Sinn Féin) has called for East Jerusalem to be placed under immediate international protection after a series of violent clashes have left several dead and tensions heightened to an extreme level.

Speaking from Strasbourg, Martina Anderson, Chair of the European Parliament delegation for Relations with Palestine, said:

“Every day we read with horror about another violation of Palestinian fundamental rights, another violent clash on a holy site or increasingly, another fatality in the region.

“Three young Palestinians were killed over this weekend alone. One was Abed al-Rahman Obeidallah, a 13-year-old boy. Over 500 Palestinians have been wounded, almost 200 of them with live fire.

“This – in the context of the ongoing illegal occupation of Palestine and the brutal repression, collective punishment and humiliation of the Palestinian civilian population – is simply serving to heighten tensions in an already aggravated environment.

“The illegal ban on Palestinians entering the Old City of Jerusalem and the blanket-restriction of Palestinian Muslims and Christians trying to access their Holy Sites in Jerusalem has to stop immediately. People of all faiths must be free to worship unconditionally.

“The downhill path to try and present/convert the issue of occupation into a religious conflict is extremely dangerous and should be stopped at its heels.

“Israeli religious discrimination coupled with an alarming increase in Israeli settler violence is made worse by the total impunity with which they act. The international community cannot stand idly by as the occupying power and settler militias continue their violent crimes against the Palestinian people.”