News Release

Interviews Available: Israeli-Palestinian Summit, Clashes in Northern Ireland

SIMONA SHARONI
Co-chair of the Consortium on Peace Research, Education and Development, Sharoni — a long-time professor of conflict resolution and peace studies — has traveled with students to Northern Ireland and the Mideast several times. Some of her students are currently international observers in Northern Ireland. She said today: “There are a few striking similarities between the situation in Israel/Palestine and the North of Ireland, and the prospects for long-lasting peace in both regions. In both cases, albeit for different reasons, the United States has positioned itself as a key player. Yet, the Clinton administration and the State Department have ignored the deeply ingrained structures of inequality and injustice that still characterize these conflicts…. Right-wing groups in Israel, as with elements in the Unionist-Loyalist community in the North of Ireland, refuse to relinquish control and share power. Violence in the North of Ireland is going to erupt again and the Israeli-Palestinian summit next week may end in failure without a framework, process, and structures designed to achieve justice and equality.”
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YVONNE HADDAD
Professor at the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University and author of several books on the Mideast and Islam, Haddad said today: “What the Palestinians need is independence, not autonomy. Their leaders should not be strong-armed into accepting mini-reservations. Right now, Israel controls who can come in and go out of ‘Palestinian-controlled’ areas; if a Palestinian wants to go from Gaza to the West Bank, he or she has to get Israeli permission. Israel controls the Palestinian economy, the imports and exports. There has to be a real Arab Jerusalem. Any agreement should provide for re-settlement of Palestinian refugees and compensation to them; otherwise there will not be any peace, because the current situation is based on injustice and the next generation will pick up the fight.”
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SEAN CAHILL
A member of Peace Watch Ireland and the Irish Parades Emergency Committee, Cahill said today: “The Patton Commission mandates dramatic changes in policing practices and the Good Friday Agreement calls for an end to sectarian harassment. But sieges of Catholic communities across Northern Ireland with these marches are clear examples of sectarian harassment. We hope that the Northern Ireland Office and the security forces will ensure the safety of these besieged Catholic communities. But a significant number of police are members of the Orange Order, a supremacist organization that organizes these frequently violent marches…. Last weekend, the head of the Garvaghy Road Residence Coalition was arrested because he was looking into the arrests of several teenagers.”

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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167