Politicians call for end to Gaza attacks

Foyle Sinn F�in MLA Raymond McCartney, on right, meeting Khaled Meshal, head of Hamas' political committee, on a visit to Gaza. Also included are from left, P�draig Wilson, SF director of international relations, and Pat Sheehan MLA. (2011MM05)

Foyle Sinn F�in MLA Raymond McCartney, on right, meeting Khaled Meshal, head of Hamas' political committee, on a visit to Gaza. Also included are from left, P�draig Wilson, SF director of international relations, and Pat Sheehan MLA. (2011MM05)

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Local politicians have added their voices to the pleas for peace in the Middle East as the death toll in Gaza rises.

Local politicians have added their voices to the pleas for peace in the Middle East as the death toll in Gaza rises.

A candlelight vigil in support of the people of Gaza was held in the Diamond on Monday night organised by Sinn Féin. Apeaking ahead of that vigil, MLA Raymond McCartney recalled meeting Hamas leader, Khaled Meshal, the main leader of the organisation since 2004, during a visit to Gaza.

Mr Meshal has been targetted for assassination by Israel on a number of occasions, including once when he was poisoned by Mosad agents and was saved due to the intervention of US president Bill Clinton who appealed to Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu to provide the antidote.

Foyle SDLP MP Mark Durkan has also written to the British government’s foreign secretary to register his concern at the escalation of violence in Gaza. Sinn Fein MlA Raymond McCartney

Mr Durkan called on the British government and the wider international community to put pressure on Israel to call a halt to the bombardment of Gaza. “I have written to the Foreign Secretary William Hague to register my deep concern at the deteriorating situation in Gaza and the inadequacy of the international response to Israel’s violence against the Palestinian people.

“I would also stress that I have registered my full condemnation of any and all attacks on Israelis by Hamas or any other armed interest. Rocket attacks on Southern Israel have to be totally repudiated not only because of the death and destruction they bring to Israeli civilians but also because of the retaliatory violence which Israel feels it has the right to visit upon the afflicted people of Gaza. I have made it clear to the Foreign Secretary that if current policy approaches are rendering the UK and Europe devoid of influence or meaningful intervention, then they need to change,” he said.