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Yassin Killing Will Heighten Middle East Violence

Killing of Yassin will heighten Middle East violence

Israel's killing of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin will likely provoke further violence, says Foreign Minister Phil Goff

The extra-judicial killing of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin by Israel is counter-productive to peace efforts in the Middle East, and likely only to provoke further violence, Foreign Minister Phil Goff said today.

"This action further damages the already slender prospects for peace following the roadmap promoted by the United Nations, United States, European Union and Russia.

"We have repeatedly condemned the terrorist activities of the Hamas movement. However we are also utterly opposed to Israel's policy of targeted assassinations, which will only lead to an escalation of violence.

"This killing will not, as one Israeli official believes, allow room for more moderate Palestinian leaders to emerge. It will do the exact opposite.

"It will more likely cause anger and sympathy for extremist views among more moderate Palestinians and broaden the appeal and assist the recruitment efforts of Hamas.

"In causing a similar reaction in the wider Arab and Islamic world, it undermines moderate leaders and damages rather than assists the international campaign against terrorism.

"This sort of action only contributes to the on-going cycle of violence and retaliation.

"This cycle has already done huge damage to both Israelis and Palestinians, causing loss on both sides of innocent lives and undermining the economies and standards of living of both Israelis and the Palestinian Authority.

"The Middle East does not need further acts of violence from either side.

"What it needs is leadership from both sides which acknowledges that peace and security can only come from a readiness to resolve differences by dialogue and negotiation, supported by the wider international community," Mr Goff said.

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