Boycott plea 

Draft of email sent to Foreign Office Minister, Kim Howells, after he  disagreed with the National Union of Journalists' decision to support the boycott of Israeli goods.

Abu Dis/Bethany 24 Apr 07

Dear Mr Howells,

I very much regret that our government and you yourself are not backing the boycott of Israeli goods. Surely this is a necessary pressure to apply on
Israel to encourage it to adhere to international humanitarian law and UN Resolutions and to stop committing crimes against Palestinian civilians every day. Not only are they being made to endure progressively greater economic and physical hardship, but their land is being taken from them relentlessly and absolutely illegally. As you will know, of the 45% of mandate Palestine allocated to the Palestinians by the UN, Israel has already taken three quarters by force, and is continuously stealing more. I am in the Wild West Bank, where Palestinians are subject not to the rule of law but to Israeli gun law.

Desmond Tutu has said that the suffering of black South Africans under apartheid was a picnic compared with the conditions Palestinians have had to endure since 1967. Here the occupying Israeli military are behaving towards the local people in ways that German troops treated Jews and gypsies and other groups of people in the 1930s. There was, and is, the impoverishment and hunger of the persecuted, their humiliation, restriction of movement and ghettoization. Now, as then, people are being subjected to a state terror apparatus which seizes people in the middle of the night, detains and imprisons thousands (more than 10,000 at present), and kills and maims ordinary people at random.

It has been cruel and misguided of the international community to apply sanctions to the occupied Palestinian people, already suffering terribly, rather than to their persecutors. It is so unjust that, for sanctions to be lifted, the Palestinian government must recognize
Israel , adhere to international agreements, and renounce violence, while we do not insist that Israel recognize a Palestinian state, adhere to international agreements, and also renounce violence. After all, nearly all of the violence in Israel-Palestine is that committed by the Israeli military. Israel has blatantly ignored its undertaking under the Oslo Accords to halt the illegal building of the ever-expanding settlements for Israelis living on Palestinian land. Neither has Israel paid any attention to the International Court of Justice’s ruling, endorsed by the UN General Assembly, that the Wall must be demolished. On the contrary, building of the remaining sections is continuing rapidly, and the dispossession and suffering it causes to a large number of Palestinians increases (it will directly affect about 670,000 when completed).

Most people do not know the extent of the daily human rights violations committed by the Israeli military. The day before yesterday, for example: 11 taken prisoner – 16 other people detained; 72 restrictions of movement; 17-year-old villager killed in Israeli incursion; three 17-year-olds abducted in home invasions; a checkpoint beating; Israeli jeep ran over man on segregated road; incursion – economic sabotage.

The inhumanity and racism of Nazism was intolerable, so is the inhumanity and racism of political Zionism. Because of
Britain ’s historical role in fostering the colonization of Palestine by Zionists, Britain has a moral obligation to take the lead in bringing Israel ’s crimes against the Palestinians to an end.

Yours sincerely, Tony Davies

[E-mailed to the Foreign Office because
Israel abolished postal services in the Palestinian Territories decades ago]

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