Dear Mr Amess MP,
I write to you as my representative in Parliament and as someone that has shown compassion towards humanitarian causes in the past (I have previously written to you about the people of Tibet.) I appeal to you to represent my concerns about the ever worsening situation in Gaza.
My appeals are that;
- rather than continuing to defend Israel’s destruction of Gaza, and massacre of its people, as ‘proportionate’ and right, the UK condemns it as the violation of International Law – and the humanitarian travesty – that it clearly is.
- the UK ceases providing Israel with arms; as it’s deploying those weapons to attack the people living under its occupation – people with no legitimate means to defend themselves and people that Israel has a duty, as the occupying force, to protect.
- the UK joins the voice of the UN in condemning on-going building of illegal settlements in the West Bank.
- the UK urges Israel to remove the blockade around Gaza. This is apartheid and causes the continuous suffering of an oppressed minority people; unable to live a life of freedom or to control their own destiny.
- the UK insists upon a peace treaty that includes removal of the blockade and takes account of the rights and needs of the Palestinian people.
- the UK imposes sanctions against Israel until it ceases hostile activities, removes the blockade and stops its incursion into the West Bank.
I’m not a lawyer, but it would seem undisputable now that Israel is in flagrant violation of International Law. It has deliberately targeted civilian buildings and appears to be systematically obliterating the Gazan infrastructure. The destruction of the power plant and damage to water and sewage works mean the population teeters on the brink of a public health crisis. Given the overflowing UN shelters (more than 200,000 now homeless) the wrecked hospital facilities, and aid and medical staff working under unimaginable pressures, such a crisis really will be an humanitarian catastrophe. As the Commissioner-General of the UNRWA in Gaza (Pierre Krahenbuhl) tweeted yesterday; “200,000 displaced people now in 82 UNRWA schools. If you think it is sustainable, think again” and “hygiene conditions deteriorating rapidly at shelters. Not enough water, too few showers, disease outbreaks a growing risk”. I would consider Mr Krahenbuhl to be a reliable source of information about conditions in the strip. He today is expressing ‘indignation and anger’. I feel very much the same.
Hope is in short supply. Palestinian people on Twitter are expressing their fears about becoming a statistic, with one that I follow – a hospital doctor – saying “the best we can hope for now is to die in our sleep, but Israel won’t let us sleep” (referring to bombardment that continues during the night. He goes on to say “Reporting numbers, not knowing how or when I will be a number.” It is, quite literally, a desperate situation. People have lost entire families, not to mention their homes and livelihoods. This cannot possibly bode well for a future of peace. It certainly doesn’t bode well for the people of Palestine, who must be wondering whether there will be a future – as the international community continues to watch them die, and their homes burn.
A lot has been said about the numbers of child victims. It should be remembered that as well as the deaths, thousands more have been injured. Many injuries will be life-changing. It will not be easy to live as a disabled person – especially not under the blockade of Israel. Furthermore, there is the trauma of living through this horror. The latest UN OCHA situation report (http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_sitrep_30_07_2014.pdf) cites; “At least 270,000 children require direct and specialized psychosocial support (PSS)”. That is a number 100,000 greater than the entire population of Southend-on-Sea. Almost unimaginable. How will these children be helped, and how many more must die before this ends?
For my part, I have pledged to do whatever I can from the UK. I refuse to be a bystander. And I am ashamed that my government is allowing this to happen. Israel may have been a friend to the UK, but if a friend of mine took to massacring an entire people – a people it also had a policy of oppressing even in peace time – then I would seriously reconsider the company I kept. I believe that if financial powerhouses such as the UK and the US withdraw support, and impose sanctions, a positive impact could be made. It worked with South Africa, perhaps it could work again.
Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I fervently hope you will be able to represent my views. Please make a stand for peace, and for compassion.
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