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Year 2009 No. 7, January 22, 2009 ARCHIVE HOME JBBOOKS SUBSCRIBE

A Consistent Enemy of the Palestinian People

Workers' Daily Internet Edition: Article Index :

A Consistent Enemy of the Palestinian People

Petition: Academics for Justice in Palestine

Petition: Artists for Justice in Palestine

Gaza 2009: Betrayal Brought Us to This

My Message to the West – Israel Must Stop the Slaughter

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A Consistent Enemy of the Palestinian People

One of the most significant features of the recent onslaught against the people of Gaza, in which over 1300 Palestinian people, many of them children, have been slain has been the stand of the British government, which has consistently attempted to justify the war crimes of the Zionist regime in Israel and to blame the government of Gaza for the genocide against the Palestinian people. It is therefore not surprising that the statements that government ministers have made since the ceasefire have been as reactionary as those made before it; what is more, the government has continued with its campaign of disinformation about the crimes committed against the Palestinian people.

In their recent statements both the Prime Minister and David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, have focused on what they refer to as "arms trafficking" by the government of Gaza, which they claim is the cause of the recent crisis and which they will do everything to curtail, in concert with the other major powers. Gordon Brown has even promised that the British navy will be dispatched to the region for this purpose. Of course the Prime Minister shows no concern at all for the arms trafficking of the murderous Zionist regime, which has been provided with the most modern weapons of mass destruction, conventional and others, both openly and covertly by the Anglo-American imperialists, since its creation over sixty years ago. In answer to questions in Parliament, including some from MPs demanding a moratorium on arms exports to Israel, the Foreign Secretary went so far as to claim that such weapons were never exported "where there was a clear risk that those arms could be used for internal repression or external aggression". In such circumstances, it is difficult to see how the government permits any arms to be exported at all.

The government is attempting to turn truth on its head and assert that the long-suffering Palestinian people and the government of Gaza are the cause of all the crimes that are perpetrated against them. According to this racist and colonialist logic, it is the Palestinians who must therefore be disarmed, not the Zionist regime, precisely as has been demanded and agreed by that regime and its principal backers, the US imperialists. From this standpoint, the Foreign Secretary brushed aside demands by MPs who in Parliament demanded sanctions against Israel and its prosecution for war crimes

The government has also been consistent in its argument that it is the government of Gaza that is undemocratic, even though elected by an overwhelming majority not only in Gaza but also in the West Bank, as well as claiming that it is an organisation that "uses terrorism", while the warmongering Zionist regime that has unleashed its state terrorism against the Palestinians is referred to as "a thriving democratic state" and a "beacon of democracy". It is in this context that the government keeps referring to the need for President Abbas to exercise control over all the Palestinian territories. The clear aim of the Anglo-American alliance and the Zionist regime is to make sure that at this time as well as in the coming elections, it is the enemies of the Palestinian people who decide the leadership of the Palestinian Authority and not the Palestinian people themselves. In this regard, it has already been announced that Britain and the other big powers, posing as the greatest humanitarians and friends of the Palestinian people, will endeavour to step up their intervention and meddling in Gaza, as they have elsewhere in the world, in order to export the kind of democracy that they require.

The government position is to maintain, just as if Palestine were still a British mandate or colony, that the Palestinian people should be denied all rights, including the right to self-determination and the right to self-defence. But what is also clear about recent events is that the government’s position has been thoroughly exposed and widely condemned. Even in Parliament many MPs have demanded action against the Zionist regime and its leaders, whom the (Jewish) Labour MP Gerald Kaufmann referred to as "war criminals and mass murderers".

There is now a global demand that the leaders of the Zionist regime should be tried as war criminals. However, its most consistent supporters, as the Labour government has shown itself to be, must also be held accountable for state terrorism and war crimes against the Palestinian people. The people condemn them.

Article Index

Petition: Academics for Justice in Palestine

The massacres in Gaza are the latest phase of a war that Israel has been waging against the people of Palestine for more than 60 years. The goal of this war has never changed: to use overwhelming military power to eradicate the Palestinians as a political force, one capable of resisting Israel's ongoing appropriation of their land and resources. Israel's war against the Palestinians has turned Gaza and the West Bank into a pair of gigantic political prisons. There is nothing symmetrical about this war in terms of principles, tactics or consequences. Israel is responsible for launching and intensifying it, and for ending the most recent lull in hostilities.

Israel must lose. It is not enough to call for another ceasefire, or more humanitarian assistance. It is not enough to urge the renewal of dialogue and to acknowledge the concerns and suffering of both sides. If we believe in the principle of democratic self-determination, if we affirm the right to resist military aggression and colonial occupation, then we are obliged to take sides... against Israel, and with the people of Gaza and the West Bank.

We must do what we can to stop Israel from winning its war. Israel must accept that its security depends on justice and peaceful coexistence with its neighbours, and not upon the criminal use of force.

We believe Israel should immediately and unconditionally end its assault on Gaza, end the occupation of the West Bank, and abandon all claims to possess or control territory beyond its 1967 borders. We call on the British government and the British people to take all feasible steps to oblige Israel to comply with these demands, starting with a programme of boycott, divestment and sanctions.

Professor Gilbert Achcar, Development Studies, SOAS [School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London]; Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, Politics and International Studies, SOAS; Dr Nadje Al-Ali, Gender Studies, SOAS; Professor Eric Alliez, Philosophy, Middlesex University; Dr Jens Andermann, Latin American Studies, Birkbeck; Dr Jorella Andrews, Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths; Professor Keith Ansell-Pearson, Philosophy, University of Warwick; John Appleby, writer; Dr Claudia Aradau, Politics, Open University; Dr Walter Armbrust, Politics, University of Oxford; Dr Andrew Asibong, French, Birkbeck [Birkbeck College, University of London]; Professor Derek Attridge, English, University of York; Burjor Avari, lecturer in Multicultural Studies, Manchester Metropolitan University; Dr Zulkuf Aydin, International Development, University of Leeds; Dr Claude Baesens, Mathematics, University of Warwick; Dr Jennifer Bajorek, Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths; Professor Mona Baker, Centre for Translation Studies, University of Manchester; Jon Baldwin, lecturer in Communications, London Metropolitan University; Professor Etienne Balibar, Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities; Dr Trevor Bark, Criminology, WEA [Workers’ Educational Association] Newcastle; Dr Susan Batchelor, Sociology, Glasgow University; Dr David Bell, Tavistock Clinic and British Psychoanalytic Society; Dr Anna Bernard, English, University of York; Professor Henry Bernstein, Development Studies, SOAS; Anindya Bhattacharyya, writer and journalist; Dr Ian Biddle, Music, Newcastle University; Sana Bilgrami, filmmaker and lecturer, Napier University, Edinburgh; Professor Jon Bird, School of Arts & Education, Middlesex University; Nicholas Blincoe, writer; Dr Jelke Boesten, Development Studies, University of Leeds; Dr Julia Borossa, Psychoanalysis, Middlesex University; Dr Mark Bould, Film Studies, UWE [University of the West of England, Bristol]; Dr Mehdi Boussebaa, Said Business School, University of Oxford; Professor Wissam Boustany, Trinity College of Music, London; Professor Bill Bowring, Law, Birkbeck; Dr Alia Brahimi, Politics, University of Oxford; Professor Haim Bresheeth, Media Studies, University of East London; Professor John D Brewer, Sociology, Aberdeen; Victoria Brittain, writer and journalist; Professor Celia Britton, French, UCL [University College London]; Professor Charles Brook, Paediatric Endocrinology, UCL; Dr Muriel Brown, writer; Professor Ian Buchanan, Critical and Cultural Theory, University of Cardiff; Professor Ray Bush, African Studies and Development Politics, University of Leeds; Professor Alex Callinicos, European Studies, KCL [King’s College London]; Dr Conor Carville, Irish Studies, St. Mary's University College [Twickenham]; Professor Noel Castree, Geography, University of Manchester; Matthew Caygill, lecturer in History and Politics, Leeds Metropolitan University; Dr Rinella Cere, Arts, Design, Communication and Media, Sheffield Hallam University; Dr John Chalcraft, Government, LSE [London School of Economics]; Dr Claire Chambers, English Literature, Leeds Metropolitan University; Dr Sue Chaplin, Cultural Studies, Leeds Metropolitan University; Dr Sharad Chari, Geography, LSE; Dr Lorenzo Chiesa, Critical Theory, University of Kent; Dr Andrew Chitty, Philosophy, University of Sussex; Professor Emilios Christodoulidis, Law, Glasgow; Professor Sue Clegg, Education, Leeds Metropolitan University; Professor Claire Colebrook, English Literature, Edinburgh University; Dr John Collins, Philosophy, UEA [University of East Anglia, Norwich]; Professor Guy Cook, Education and Language Studies, The Open University; Professor Diana Coole, Politics and Sociology, Birkbeck; Professor Annie E Coombes, History of Art, Birkbeck; Charlie Cooper, lecturer in Social Policy, University of Hull; Julia Copus, poet; Professor Andrea Cornwall, Institute of Development Studies, Sussex; Dr Don Crewe, Criminology, Roehampton University; Professor Simon Critchley, Philosophy, University of Essex; Dr Stephanie Cronin, Social Sciences, University of Northampton; Eleanor Crook, sculptor & lecturer, University of the Arts London; Laura Cull, artist and researcher, Drama, University of Exeter; Dr Sonia Cunico, Modern Languages, University of Leicester; Dr David Cunningham, English, University of Westminster; Catherine Czerkawska, writer and historian; Dr Sarah Dadswell, Drama, University of Exeter; Dr Gareth Dale, Politics and History, Brunel University; Dr Gary Daniels, Public Policy and Management, Keele University; Neil Davidson, Senior Research Fellow, Geography and Sociology, University of Strathclyde; Dr Graham Dawson, Cultural History, University of Brighton; Christophe Declercq, lecturer in Translation, Imperial College London; Dr Helen May Dennis, English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick; Dr Caitlin DeSilvey, Geography, University of Exeter; Dr Mark Devenney, Humanities, University of Brighton; Dr Pat Devine, Social Science, University of Manchester; Dr Jorge Díaz-Cintas, Translation, Imperial College London; Professor James Dickins, Arabic, University of Salford; Kay Dickinson, Media and Communications, Goldsmiths College; Jenny Diski, writer; Dr Bill Dixon, Sociology & Criminology, Keele University; Noel Douglas, lecturer and graphic designer, University of Bedfordshire; Professor Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, Law, University of Oxford; Professor Allison Drew, Department of Politics, University of York; Dr Judit Druks, Psychology & Language Science, UCL; Professor Mick Dunford, Geography, University of Sussex; Dr Sam Durrant, English, Leeds University; Dr Graham Dyer, Economics, SOAS; Professor Abbas Edalat, Computer Science, Imperial College; Professor Rasheed El-Enany, Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter; Gregory Elliott, writer and translator; Dr Richard Elliott, Music, Newcastle University; Professor Hoda Elsadda, Arabic Studies, University of Manchester; Bernardine Evaristo, writer; Dr Howard Feather, Sociology, London Metropolitan University; Professor Patrick ffrench, French, King's College London; Dr Clare Finburgh, Theatre Studies, University of Essex; Professor Jean Fisher, Fine Art, Middlesex University; Dominic Fox, writer; Dr Jennifer Fraser, Spanish, Birkbeck; Professor Murray Fraser, Architecture, University of Westminster; Dr Des Freedman, Media and Communications, Goldsmiths; Maureen Freely, writer and journalist, English, University of Warwick; Dr Diane Frost, Sociology, University of Liverpool; Dr Geetanjali Gangoli, School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol; Juliet Gardiner, writer; Dr James Garvey, philosopher; Professor Conor Gearty, Centre for the Study of Human Rights, LSE; Dr Julie Gervais, Government, LSE; Dr Jeremy Gilbert, Cultural Studies, University of East London; Dr Aisha Gill, Criminologist, Roehampton University, UK; Professor Paul Gilroy, Sociology, London School of Economics; Charles Glass, writer; Dr Andrew Goffey, Media, Middlesex; Professor Barry Goldson, Sociology and Social Policy, University of Liverpool; Professor Philip Goodchild, Theology and Religious Studies, University of Nottingham; Dr Paul Goodey, lecturer and oboist; Professor Ian Gough, Social Policy, University of Bath; Dr David Graeber, Anthropology, Goldsmiths; Dr James Graham, Media Culture and Communication, Middlesex University; Professor Penny Green, Law, Kings College London; Dr Simon Gieve, Education, University of Leicester; Dr Steve Hall, Sociology and Criminology, Northumbria; Professor Peter Hallward, Philosophy, Middlesex University; Keith Hammond, lecturer in Education, University of Glasgow; Dr Sameh F Hanna, Translation Studies, University of Salford; Nicky Harman, lecturer in Translation, Imperial College London; M John Harrison, writer; Dr Rumy Hasan, Science & Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex; Owen Hatherley, journalist and academic; Dr Jane Haynes, writer & dialogic psychotherapist; Dr Jonathan Hensher, French Studies, University of Manchester; Dr Barry Heselwood, Linguistics & Phonetics, University of Leeds; Tom Hickey, Tutor in Philosophy, Politics and Aesthetics, University of Brighton; Dr Jane Hiddleston, Modern Languages, University of Oxford; Dr Nicki Hitchcott, French and Francophone Studies, University of Nottingham; Professor Eric Hobsbawm, President, Birkbeck; Dr Jane Holgate, Working Lives Research Institute, London Metropolitan University; Professor Derek Holt, Mathematics, University of Warwick; Professor Ted Honderich, Philosophy, UCL; Professor David Howell, Politics, University of York; Professor Richard Hudson, Linguistics, UCL; Professor John Hutnyk, Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths; Dr Colin Imber, Turkish, University of Manchester; Professor Lyn Innes (emeritus), English, University of Kent; Professor Yosefa Loshitzky, Film, Media and Cultural Studies, University of East London; Dr Lars Iyer, Philosophy, Newcastle University; Dr Ian James, French, University of Cambridge; Dr Daniel Katz, English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick; Dr Mark Kelly, Philosophy, Middlesex University; Joanna Gilmore, lecturer in the School of Law, University of Manchester; Susan Kelly, lecturer in Fine Art, Goldsmiths; Dr Christian Kerslake, Philosophy, Middlesex University; Dr Alexander King, Anthropology, University of Aberdeen; David Kinloch, poet; Dr Dianne Kirby, History and International Affairs, University of Ulster; Dr Graeme Kirkpatrick, Sociology, University of Manchester; Dr Laleh Khalili, Politics and International Studies, SOAS; Dr Stathis Kouvelakis, European Studies, KCL; Professor Basil Kouvaritakis, Engineering Science, University of Oxford; Dr John Kraniauskas, Spanish, Birkbeck; Dr Cecile Laborde, Political Science, UCL; Professor Ernesto Laclau, Government, Essex; Dave Laing, writer and journalist; Dr Juan Antonio Lalaguna, Humanities, Imperial College London; Professor William Large, Philosophy, University College Plymouth, St Mark and St John; Nicholas Lawrence, lecturer in English & Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick; Professor Andrew Leak, French, UCL; Dr Barbara Lebrun, French, University of Manchester; Dr Keekok Lee, Philosophy, University of Manchester; Professor Esther Leslie, English and Humanities, Birkbeck; Dr Jo Littler, Media and Cultural Studies, Middlesex University; Tim Llewellyn, journalist and writer; Dr Caroline Lloyd, Social Sciences, Cardiff University; Dr Jill Lovecy, Politics, University of Manchester; Simon Lynn, lecturer in Social Work, UEL [University of East London]; David Mabb, artist and Reader in Art, Goldsmiths; Dr Stephen Maddison, Cultural Studies, University of East London; Dr Kevin Magill, Arts and Humanities, University of Wolverhampton; Michael Mahadeo, lecturer in Health and Social Sciences, University of Ulster; Dr Suhail Malik, Art, Goldsmiths; Dr Johanna Malt, French, KCL; Dr Matteo Mandarini, Business and Management, QMUL [Queen Mary, University of London] Professor Susan Marks, Law, KCL; Dr Lee Marsden, International Relations, University of East Anglia; Professor Lauro Martines, historian; Dr Luciana Martins, Spanish, Birkbeck College; Dr Nur Masalha, Religion and Politics, St Mary's University College; Dr Dina Matar, Centre for Media and Film Studies, SOAS; Dr Graeme Macdonald, English, University of Warwick; Professor (emeritus) Moshé Machover, Philosophy, KCL; Dr Maeve McCusker, French Studies, Queen's University Belfast; Dr James McDougall, History, SOAS; Dr Sonia McKay, Working Lives Research Institute, London Metropolitan University; Dr Susan McManus, Politics, Queen's University Belfast; Dr Saladin Meckled-Garcia, Human Rights Studies, UCL; Professor Susan Melrose, Performing Arts, Middlesex University; Dr Farah Mendlesohn, Media and Creative Writing, Middlesex University; Dr Mahmood Messkoub, Business, University of Leeds; Dr China Miéville, writer and academic; Dr Anna-Louise Milne, French, University of London Institute in Paris; Dr Surya Monro, Politics, University of Sheffield; John Moore, lecturer in Sociology & Criminology, University of the West of England; Professor Bart Moore-Gilbert, English and Comparative Literature, Goldsmiths; Dr Farhang Morady, Globalisation and Development, University of Westminster; Dr Stephen Morton, English, Southampton University; Dr Pablo Mukherjee, English and Comparative Literature, University of Warwick; Professor John Mullarkey, Philosophy, University of Dundee; Professor John Muncie, Criminology, The Open University; Professor Martha Mundy, Anthropology, LSE; Dr Alex Murray, English, University of Exeter; Dr Karma Nabulsi, Politics, University of Oxford; Ali Nasralla, Senior Fellow (retired) at Manchester University Business School; Professor Mica Nava, Cultural Studies, University of East London; Marga Navarrete, Lecturer in Spanish and Translation, Imperial College; Dr Nick Nesbitt, French, Aberdeen; Dr Michael Niblett, Translation and Comparative Cultural Studies, University of Warwick; Professor Christopher Norris, Philosophy, University of Cardiff; Julia O'Faolain, writer; Michael Oliva, composer and lecturer, Royal College of Music; Wendy Olsen, Development Studies, University of Manchester; Professor Peter Osborne, Philosophy, Middlesex University; Dr George Paizis, French, UCL; Professor Ilan Pappé, History, University of Exeter; Professor Benita Parry, English and Comparative Literature, University of Warwick; Dr Diana Paton, History, Newcastle University; Dr Ian Patterson, Queens' College, Cambridge; Lara Pawson, writer and journalist; Dr Maeve Pearson, English, University of Exeter; Carmen Perea-Gohar, lecturer in Spanish, Imperial College; Dr Luis Perez-Gonzalez, Translation Studies, University of Manchester; Dr Andrea Phillips, Art, Goldsmiths; Dr Nina Power, Philosophy, Roehampton University; Dr Jane Poyner, English, University of Exeter; Professor Scott Poynting, Sociology, Manchester Metropolitan University; Dr Nicola Pratt, Political, Social & International Studies, UEA; Professor Al Rainnie, Centre for Labour Market Studies, University of Leicester; Dr Kamran Rastegar, Arabic and Persian Literatures, University of Edinburgh; Professor Jane Rendell, Architecture, UCL; Professor Dee Reynolds, French, University of Manchester; Dr Chris Roberts, School of Community Based Medicine, University of Manchester; Dr Mark Robson, English Studies, University of Nottingham; Professor William Roff, Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies, University of Edinburgh; Professor Bill Rolston, Sociology, University of Ulster; Caroline Rooney, English and Postcolonial Studies, Kent; Professor Hilary Rose, Social Policy, University of Bradford; Michael Rosen, writer; Dr Elaheh Rostami-Povey, Development Studies, SOAS; Professor William Rowe, Spanish and English, Birkbeck; Dr Juliet Rufford, Theatre Studies, University of Reading; Professor Jonathan Rutherford, Cultural Studies, Middlesex University; Professor Alfredo Saad Filho, Development Studies, SOAS; Dr Gabriela Saldanha, English Language, University of Birmingham; Dr Shahira Samy, Politics, University of Oxford; Dr Stella Sandford, Philosophy, Middlesex University; Professor Sanjay Seth, Politics, Goldsmiths; Carole Satyamurti, writer; Professor Yezid Sayigh, War Studies, KCL; Professor Phil Scraton, Law and Criminology, Queen's University Belfast; Professor Richard Seaford, Classics and Ancient History, University of Exeter; Amanda Sebestyen, writer and asylum campaigner; Professor David Seddon, Development Studies, University of East Anglia; Richard Seymour, writer and activist; Dr Subir Sinha, Development Studies, SOAS; Dr Debra Benita Shaw, Social Sciences, Media & Cultural Studies, University of East London; Professor Avi Shlaim, International Relations, St Antony's College, University of Oxford; Mark Shuttleworth, lecturer in Translation, Imperial College London; Professor David Slater, Geography, Loughborough University; Dr Andrew Smith, Sociology, Anthropology and Applied Social Science, University of Glasgow; Dr Graham Smith, Law, University of Manchester; Professor Neil Smith (emeritus), Linguistics, UCL; Olivia Smith, Centre for Editing Lives and Letters, Queen Mary, University of London; Dr Anthony Soares, Portuguese, Queen's University Belfast; Ahdaf Soueif, writer and journalist; Professor William Spence, Physics, QMUL; Dr Robert Spencer, Postcolonial Literatures, University of Manchester; Professor Paul Stewart, Human Resource Management, University of Strathclyde; Dr Alison Stone, Philosophy, Lancaster; Colin Stoneman, writer; Professor Paul Sutton, Caribbean Studies, London Metropolitan University; Professor Helen Taylor, English, University of Exeter; Professor Phil Taylor, Business, University of Strathclyde; Dr Jennifer Terry, English Studies, University of Durham; Dr Nicholas Thoburn, Sociology, University of Manchester; Adriana Tortoriello, translator Dr Alberto Toscano, Sociology, Goldsmiths; Professor Martin Upchurch, Business, Middlesex University; Dr Anastasia Valassopoulos, English and American Studies, University of Manchester; Dr Rashmi Varma, English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick; Dr Ritu Vij, International Relations, University of Aberdeen; Professor Dennis Walder, Ferguson Centre for African and Asian Studies, Open University; Dr Geoffrey Wall, English, University of York; Sean Wallis, Survey of English Usage, UCL; Dr Vron Ware, Social Sciences, The Open University; Dr Eyal Weizman, Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths; Professor Lynn Welchman, Law, SOAS; Dr Jutta Weldes, Politics, University of Bristol; Tony White, writer; Geoff Whittam, Reader in Entrepreneurship, University of the West of Scotland; Dr David Whyte, Sociology, University of Liverpool; Dr Paula Wilcox, Criminology, University of Brighton; Dr Caroline Williams, Politics, QMUL; Professor Eddie Williams, Linguistics, Bangor University; Professor James Williams, Philosophy, University of Dundee; Dr Carla Willig, Psychology, City University; Dr Jon E Wilson, History, KCL; Dr Nicole Wolf, Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths; Dr Jim Wolfreys, French and European Politics, KCL; Professor Andy Wood, History, University of East Anglia; Professor Geof Wood, International Development, University of Bath; Robin Yassin-Kassab, novelist; Professor Nira Yuval-Davis, Gender & Ethnic Studies, University of East London; Dr Shamoon Zamir, American Studies, KCL; Professor Slavoj Zizek, Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities; Dr Paquita de Zulueta, Medicine, Imperial College.

(Originally published in the Guardianhttp:// www.guardian.co.uk, January 16, 2009. Other academics in Britain have signed since the press date.)

Article Index

Petition: Artists for Justice in Palestine

We regard Israel's indiscriminate killing in Gaza as a crime against humanity. We protest against Israel's exterminating tactics and offer our wholehearted support to the people of Gaza.

Stephen Frears – Film Director – UK; Nigel Kennedy – Musician, Poland/UK; Miriam Margolyes – Actress, UK; Brian Eno – Musician and producer, UK; Robert Wyatt – Musician, UK; William Dalrymple – Writer and historian; Dhafer Youssef – Musician, France; Dave Robinson – Producer & pioneer of Stiff Records, UK; Razanne Carmey – Playwright, UK; Chaz Jankel – Musician, UK; Philip Bagenal – Music Producer and mixer, UK; Christine Tobin – Singer, UK; Jeffrey Blankfort – Photographer, USA; Liane Carroll – Musician singer, UK; Martin Coogan – Musician, UK; Anis Hamadeh – Musician, Germany; Radhika Jha – Writer, India; Prem Shankar Jha – Author & journalist, India; Uzma Aslam Khan – Novelist and Essayist, Pakistan; Sarah Gillespie – Musician, UK; Darrell Lawrence – Music & film producer, USA; Shadia Mansour – Singer, UK; Moni Ovadia – Actor, Italy; Gilad Atzmon – Musician and writer, UK; Susheela Raman – Singer, UK; Karl Sabbagh – Writer, UK; Rich Siegel – Musician, USA; Paul Sussman – Author, UK; Sunny Singh – Writer, India; David Toop – Musician & author, UK; John Turnbull – Musician UK.

(Petition by artists around the world, originally published in the Guardian – http://www.guardian.co.uk, January 16, 2009)

Article Index

Gaza 2009: Betrayal Brought Us to This

By Stuart Littlewood*, January 16, 2009

"What we have done is to start a running sore in the East, and no-one can tell how far that sore will extend."

Twice running we have stood back and watched. Twice in two years – 2006 Lebanon and 2008/9 Gaza – the British government has done nothing to intervene and indicate to Israel in unmistaken terms that they go too far – well beyond what human decency allows and what we as a nation will stand for — and that there are consequences.

Those consequences should include a drastic downgrading of our relationship on all levels and an end to economic and military co-operation.

If we had no leverage it would still be incumbent on us to initiate moves to uphold international law, human rights and UN resolutions, and to mobilise immediate relief for the civilian community even if we had to land it on Gaza’s beach. After all we – Britain – are the cause of the trouble. We – Britain — sowed the seed and created the conditions for events that would lead to 60 years of dispossession and torment for the Palestinians and 60 years of brutal expansionism and colonization by the Israelis at their expense.

But there's leverage a-plenty, and it's time we used it. Israel needs us, and Europe, more than we need Israel.

Stephen Ostrander's simple verse describes in a few words the root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict

For centuries long our land enslaved by Turkish kings with sharpened blade.
We prayed to end the Sultan's curse, the British came and spoke a verse.
"It's World War One, if you agree to fight with us we'll set you free."
The war we fought at Britain's side, our blood was shed for Arab pride.
At war's end Turks were smitten, our only gain, the lies of Britain.

The infamous Balfour Declaration of 1917 – actually a letter from the British foreign secretary, Lord Balfour, to the most senior Jew in England, Lord Rothschild – pledged assistance for the Zionist cause with total disregard for the consequences to the native majority.

Calling itself a "declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations", it said: His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing and non-Jewish communities.

Balfour, a Zionist convert, wrote: "In Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country. The four powers are committed to Zionism and Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long tradition, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now occupy that land."

Earlier, in correspondence between Sir Henry McMahon and Sharif Hussein ibn Ali of Mecca in 1915, the Allied Powers promised independence to Arab leaders in return for their help in defeating Germany's ally, Turkey.

Yes, there was opposition to Balfour. Lord Sydenham warned: "The harm done by dumping down an alien population upon an Arab country may never be remedied. What we have done, by concessions not to the Jewish people but to a Zionist extreme section, is to start a running sore in the East, and no-one can tell how far that sore will extend."

In 1922 Palestine was placed under British mandate, which incorporated the principles of the Balfour Declaration. Jewish immigration would be facilitated "under suitable conditions" and a nationality law would allow Jews taking up permanent residence to acquire Palestinian citizenship.

That same year the British government, aware of Arab concerns that the Balfour Declaration was being interpreted in an "exaggerated" fashion by Zionists, issued a White Paper to clarify the position.

"The terms of the Declaration referred to," it said, "do not contemplate that Palestine as a whole should be converted into a Jewish National Home, but that such a Home should be founded ‘in Palestine’. In this connection it has been observed with satisfaction that at a meeting of the Zionist Congress, the supreme governing body of the Zionist Organization, held at Carlsbad in September, 1921, a resolution was passed expressing as the official statement of Zionist aims the determination of the Jewish people to live with the Arab people on terms of unity and mutual respect, and together with them to make the common home into a flourishing community, the upbuilding of which may assure to each of its peoples an undisturbed national development

The White Paper noted that the Zionist Commission in Palestine, re-named the Palestine Zionist Executive, had no wish to be involved in the administration of the country. It would be allowed to assist in general development but not share in the government.

"Further, it is contemplated that the status of all citizens of Palestine in the eyes of the law shall be Palestinian, and it has never been intended that they, or any section of them, should possess any other juridical status."

Question: How did we get from there to here this miserable point in 2009 where the democratically elected government of Israeli-occupied Palestine is holed up under siege in Gaza while the Strip is bombed to smithereens and its citizens systematically slaughtered by the Israel’s high-tech military right under the noses of the international community and assorted sightseers?

Answer: By a good deal of chicanery, cowardice and corruption on the part of Britain and the rest of the international community.

Today the same despicable breed are in charge. And the Palestinians are still waiting for simple justice.

How right Sydenham was.

Postscript — As I file this article TV news is showing the UN’s main compound in Gaza with its humanitarian stores of food and medicines in flames after being hit twice by Israel’s big guns, deliberately some say. Will Israel be ejected from the UN for this outrage? Dream on.

* Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. For further information please visit http://www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

Article Index

My Message to the West – Israel Must Stop the Slaughter

Ismail Haniyeh, The Independent, January 15, 2009

I write this article to Western readers across the social and political spectrum as the Israeli war machine continues to massacre my people in Gaza. To date, almost 1,000 have been killed, nearly half of whom are women and children. Last week's bombing of the UNRWA (UN Relief Works Agency) school in the Jabalya refugee camp was one of the most despicable crimes imaginable, as hundreds of civilians had abandoned their homes and sought refuge with the international agency only to be mercilessly shelled and bombed by Israel. Forty-six children and women were killed in that heinous attack while scores were injured.

Evidently, Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 did not end its occupation nor, as a result, its international obligations as an occupying power. It continued to control and dominate our borders by land, sea and air. Indeed the UN has confirmed that between 2005 and 2008, the Israeli army killed nearly 1,250 Palestinians in Gaza, including 222 children. For most of that period the border crossings have remained effectively closed, with only limited quantities of food, industrial fuel, animal feed and a few other essential items, allowed in.

Despite its frantic efforts to conceal it, the root cause of Israel's criminal war on Gaza is the elections of January 2006, which saw Hamas win by a substantial majority. What occurred next was that Israel alongside the United States and the European Union joined forces in an attempt to quash the democratic will of the Palestinian people. They set about reversing the decision first by obstructing the formation of a national unity government and then by making a living hell for the Palestinian people through economic strangulation. The abject failure of all these machinations finally led to this vicious war. Israel's objective is to silence all voices that express the will of the Palestinian; thereafter it would impose its own terms for a final settlement depriving us of our land, our right to Jerusalem as the rightful capital of our future state and the Palestinian refugees' right to return to their homes.

Ultimately, the comprehensive siege on Gaza, which manifestly violated the Fourth Geneva Convention, prohibited the most basic medical supplies to our hospitals. It disallowed the delivery of fuel and supply of electricity to our population. And on top of all of this inhumanity, it denied them food and the freedom of movement, even to seek treatment. This led to the avoidable death of hundreds of patients and the spiralling rise of malnutrition among our children.

Palestinians are appalled that the members of the European Union do not view this obscene siege as a form of aggression. Despite the overwhelming evidence, they shamelessly assert that Hamas brought this catastrophe upon the Palestinian people because it did not renew the truce. Yet we ask, did Israel honour the terms of the ceasefire mediated by Egypt in June? It did not. The agreement stipulated a lifting of the siege and an end to attacks in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Despite our full compliance, the Israelis persisted in murdering Palestinians in Gaza as well as the West Bank during what became known as the year of the Annapolis peace.

None of the atrocities committed against our schools, universities, mosques, ministries and civil infrastructure would deter us in the pursuit of our national rights. Undoubtedly, Israel could demolish every building in the Gaza Strip but it would never shatter our determination or steadfastness to live in dignity on our land. Surely, if the gathering of civilians in a building only to then bomb it or the use of phosphorous bombs and missiles are not war crimes, then what is? How many more international treaties and conventions must Zionist Israel breach before it is held accountable? There is not a capital in the world today where free and decent people are not outraged by this brutal oppression. Neither Palestine nor the world would be the same after these crimes.

There is only one way forward and no other. Our condition for a new ceasefire is clear and simple. Israel must end its criminal war and slaughter of our people, lift completely and unconditionally its illegal siege of the Gaza Strip, open all our border crossings and completely withdraw from Gaza. After this we would consider future options. Ultimately, the Palestinians are a people struggling for freedom from occupation and the establishment of an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital and the return of refugees to their villages from which they were expelled. Whatever the cost, the continuation of Israel's massacres will break neither our will nor our aspiration for freedom and independence.

The writer is the Prime Minister of Gaza.

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