National Lobby Day for Palestine – Gaza
It seems almost unbelievable that with the tacit consent of our government, Israel has operated a blockade against Gaza for seven years, the chief victims of which are women and children. Anaemia affects most children in Gaza and one third of pregnant women. Ten per cent of children under five suffer from stunting, the effects of which are lifelong.
We have allowed Israel deliberately to ruin fishing, agriculture and other industries, leaving a hard working and talented people dependent on aid. Since the Egyptian military’s campaign to destroy tunnels between Gaza and Sinai, the Gazans who have managed (at a price) to buy goods through the tunnel industry ( a trade which has killed over 235 Palestinians and injured over 597) are becoming increasingly desperate for food. Since Gaza’s sole power plant stopped working on 1 November electricity has been operating for only six hours a day. The shortage has resulted in the shutdown of sewage treatment facilities. Operating theatres, dialysis units, intensive care and premature baby units are all under threat. 95 per cent of drinking water is unsafe.
The international community may or may not intervene to save lives in the current crisis: but we need politicians to run the gauntlet of Israeli lobby intimidation and say to Israel ‘Enough’
The Foreign Secretary has publicly stated ‘’It is not in our character as a nation to have a foreign policy without a conscience.’‘ So will he intervene and insist the Gazan people be treated as human beings? Please could you write to him, insisting that ‘‘raising our concerns’’ is not enough, and that real pressure must be applied to make Israel lift its illegal blockade and allow fuel, and other essential supplies into the Gaza Strip immediately without restriction?
This, on the other hand, is our Prime Minister speaking at a Downing Street reception for the Jewish Festival of Hanukah as reported by Richard Morris who writes a Palestine /Israel blog:
“I am with you and with the Israeli people, genuinely. As far as I’m concerned, an enemy of Israel is an enemy of mine. A threat to Israel is a threat to us all. “I can promise you this: Britain will stand with Israel, Britain will support Israel, Britain will keep the pressure up on Iran. We do not want you to have a nuclear-armed near-neighbour, a nuclear threat facing your country… We share that feeling and show you our solidarity.’’
As Morris comments. ‘Who gave Cameron the right to make these promises on our behalf?’ Does he really wish such solidarity with a state that openly practises racist and apartheid policies, the current transfer of the Bedouin being but one example? ( good info from the Huffington Post)
The comment on the Iran/Geneva deal, while cautious, is overwhelmingly in favour. In the Guardian, as many of you will have seen, Jonathan Friedland includes this fascinating detail:
Intriguingly, Obama’s policy of restraint found a supportive echo in the Israeli securocracy: it was the loud, sometimes public opposition of current and former military and intelligence chiefs that made it all but impossible for Netanyahu to contemplate air strikes against Iran. It turns out that it was the fruit of a deliberate, planned effort by Washington, patiently creating what one analysis calls a “United States lobby” within the Israeli security elite. Now established, there is no reason why that same US lobby could not be mobilised to pressure Bibi again – this time on the Israel-Palestine track.
And a typically sane analysis from the International Crisis Group
So while ‘facts on the ground’ are increasingly dire, there is evidence that Israel is losing its grip……