|NEXT SUNDAY 21 October 2023
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign is calling for another demonstration in London. It will start at midday at Marble Arch.There will also be a gathering in Hanley Park and, I daresay, in Stafford as well. More details will be available later.If you have not demonstrated before, now is the time to do so!
Also, write to your MP.
Pressure will increase on MPs if they are confronted by a deluge of letters.Here is a letter drafted by the Balfour Project which you can make your own.
|Dear Aaron Bell
My name is Angela Glendenning and I am one of your constituents and my address is 32 Dartmouth Avenue
I ask you, please, to do two things:
Our Government should demonstrate consistency in upholding equal rights and international law. This entails holding to account anyone who breaks that law. Our Government needs actively to defend the rule of law.
The British Government had direct responsibility for Mandate Palestine from 1917-1948 and failed in its “sacred trust” under the Mandate to bring Palestine to independence. Today, Israel is an established, sovereign state. The Palestinians merit the same. Our country’s leaders have a unique responsibility to work for equal rights for both Palestinians and Israelis – two peoples whose futures are intertwined. Both peoples have the same right to self-determination, including the right to statehood.
Ten years ago, Foreign Secretary William Hague said “We reserve the right to recognise a Palestinian state bilaterally at a moment of our choosing, and when it can best help bring about peace”.
That time is now.
Today, to pre-empt the peace-making efforts of President Biden, the Israeli authorities are proceeding with de facto annexation in the West Bank through systematic settlement expansion. The aim is clear – to prevent the two-state outcome which is our Government’s policy. British recognition of both states is urgently needed. Britain rightly recognised the state of Israel in 1950. More than 70 years on, now is the time for Britain to recognise the Palestinian state in that two-state outcome.
We have seen the FCDO response that British recognition now of the state of Palestine will not end the Israeli occupation. True: only Israel will end the occupation. But Israel cannot exercise a veto over what our Government freely determines to do. Recognising the state of Palestine now sustains the two state outcome to which our Government, the EU and President Biden are committed. Opposing illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank is also required. Words of condemnation have proved insufficient to change Israeli Government policy. Genuine, tangible political and economic consequences are needed. Our Government has the means – and needs to find the will.
Or this longer, more detailed letter
Dear (name of MP),
I am writing urgently to ask you to call on our political leaders to end the humanitarian calamity being inflicted on Gaza. This deepening tragedy is entirely preventable. It requires governments such as ours, which have a close relationship with Israel, to insist that International Humanitarian Law be respected – to the letter. Failure will mean that even more innocent civilians die. The perpetrators must face accountability for war crimes.
Nothing can justify the deliberate targeting of civilians, be it Hamas killings and hostage taking, or Israel illegally cutting off food, electricity, medicines and water supplies to an entire population for which it has legal responsibilities of care as the occupying power.
Israel has bombed civilian homes, killing hundreds of civilians, and forced hospitals to stop working in Gaza, resulting in more needless deaths. Its order to 1.1 million Palestinians to abandon their homes in northern Gaza is a flagrant breach of International Humanitarian Law – and an affront to humanity. It must be rescinded.
Since 7 October, well over 2,300 Palestinians – more than half of them women and children – have been killed by Israeli aerial bombardment. The anticipated ground invasion will undoubtedly cause far more deaths.
As was evident from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s 14 December statement on the crisis, Britain’s political leaders are shirking their legal and moral duty: a legal responsibility to uphold and enforce the Geneva Conventions and UN Resolutions, and a moral responsibility to prevent further war crimes by protecting defenceless Palestinian civilians from harm.
I am deeply troubled by the public positions being taken by our Government and Opposition leaders in response to these events. They have condemned Hamas for massacring civilians and taking hostages: war crimes that demand accountability. But the law must be respected by all – particularly by the Israeli occupying power, which systematically flouts the Geneva Conventions and International Humanitarian Law with impunity both in Gaza and the West Bank – where rampant settler violence against Palestinian civilians is openly incited by Israeli Government Ministers.
I ask you urgently to support the call by 12 respected British and international aid agencies to save civilian lives in Gaza now. Specifically, I ask you to call on Britain’s political leaders to:
1: Press all parties to protect civilians from military action and cease hostilities at once;
2: Work with engaged Arab Governments to secure the release of all hostages;
3: Ensure that emergency aid is urgently delivered to Gaza, especially to the hundreds of thousands of displaced persons trapped inside the territory;
4: Require Israel to end its illegal total siege, enabling unrestricted humanitarian access, including deliveries of fuel, medical supplies, food and water to all those in need;
5: When the fighting is over, our Government must make it a top priority to address the root causes of this conflict and prevent further recurrence. The best way to do that is to uphold and implement the right to national self-determination of the Palestinian people, finally ending the occupation.
In conclusion, at this time our political leaders must use their influence with Israel, the United States and Arab states to safeguard life – and not condone needless civilian deaths. Please share my urgent requests with our Government now and call upon Opposition parties to adopt these proposals, to prevent further loss of life.
Mohammad Mukhaimar and I tried to meet at Sunday’s demonstration but the crowds were too dense. Mohammad’s elderly parents are caught up in the conflict in Gaza, as is his brother, Rafat, who is a doctor at the Al Shifa Hospital. We hold them in our heart, as we do all those suffering grievously in this conflict.