Letter To MP & MSPs Regarding Israel’s Cowardly Attack On The Humanitarian Aid Convoy

Impromptu march along Edinburgh’s Princes Street against the actions of the Israeli state and in support of the humanitarian aid convoy, 31st May 2010 (Photo: Eddie Truman)

Letter sent to:  Alistair Darling MP, David McLetchie MSP, Gavin Brown MSP, George Foulkes MSP, Robin Harper MSP, Fiona Hyslop MSP, Margo MacDonald MSP, Ian McKee MSP, Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP

1st June 2010

Dear Alistair Darling MP, et al

I’m writing to you, as one of my elected representatives, to express my shock, horror and outrage at the illegal and murderous actions of the Israeli Defence Force against an unarmed humanitarian aid convoy.

You will be aware that the IDF have illegally boarded a flotilla of unarmed ships bringing 10,000 tonnes of essential humanitarian aid to Gaza which had been collected to help relieve the suffering of the Palestinian people – a people, as you will be aware, who have been subjected to a prolonged, inhumane and illegal blockade by the Israeli state.

You will also be aware by now that heavily armed IDF commandos have callously murdered AT RANDOM nineteen unarmed and defenceless crew members of the aid convoy, injured numerous others, and have taken prisoner the other 500 members of the convoy.

You will be aware too that, CRUCIALLY, this incident has taken place in international waters which are subject to international law, making this nothing less than act of premeditated murder, piracy and kidnapping on the high seas.

As one of my elected representatives I would like to know how what you think about this, and what you intend to do about this.  As well as any personal or party political stand you feel is the right course of action I’m asking, as one of your constituents, if you would consider:

1) writing a personal letter, or support a motion in Parliament, addressed to President Barack Obama publicly calling for him to condemn the action of the IDF, as well as calling for the UN to support tough punitive measures against the Israeli state.

2) issuing a personal statement, or support a motion in Parliament, calling for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador from the UK.  The Swedish government, to their credit, has already done this.

3) issuing a personal statement, or support a motion in Parliament, calling for a public boycott of all Israeli goods until the blockade is lifted.

The Israeli state got away with their heavy-handed murderous attack on Gaza in December 2008 because the international community sat back and did nothing. Because of this the Israeli state feels it can get away with any act of violence and intimidation, no matter how inhuman or illegal.  Words of censure have failed to halt their acts of aggression against the Palestinian people.  What is needed now is international action and for good people to speak up rather than remain silent.

I hope you will give this your sincerest thoughts for no matter which way the apologists for the Israeli state try to spin this latest outrage the IDF have gone way beyond the pale of acceptability and legality.

I will declare a personal interest in this as a very good friend of mine, Lorty Philips, was on board the convoy and is currently being kept prisoner by the Israeli military.  Lorty is not a party political activist.  She’s a gentle soul, without an ounce of hate in her body, who wanted to give practical assistance to the people.  I’m fearful of the way the Israeli military will treat her, and all the others who have been kidnapped, and I want action not fence-sitting from my elected representatives in both Westminster and Holyrood.

I’m not asking for platitudes.  I am asking you, as one of my elected representatives, to look inside yourself, ask yourself why you became a politician in the first place, and to be brave, ignore the usual political protocols, and take a principled and personal stand for what is fair, specifically, taking a firm public stand against a rogue state which is killing innocent people and destabilising peace in the Middle East.

I look forward to your early response.

Yours sincerely

Kevin Williamson

Edinburgh

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  1. I fully support the sentiments in your open letter and particularly your call for actions not words of condemnation of these outrageous acts. The Zionist state needs to be faced with the consequences of its behaviour by means of boycotts of its products and other political measures designed to isolate it in the international community and bring about a change of regime by the Israeli people themselves.

  2. bob hamilton says:

    As I heard today and agree with. If it had been Iran/ North Korea and not Israel.Bombs would already be falling.

  3. bellacaledonia says:

    This is the Israeli response to yesterday’s massacre, as reported in today’s Jerusalem Post:

    “Next time we’ll use more force”

    http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=177134

    KW

  4. bellacaledonia says:

    I’d be interested, Norman, to find out what level of disquiet or even opposition exists within Israel among the Jewish community there.

    1. milgram says:

      There’s a statement from the Trade Union federation Histradut here:
      http://libcom.org/forums/news/over-10-people-killed-after-israel-storms-aid-ship-31052010?page=3#comment-380067
      Key part probably:

      “The Histadrut, whose value of solidarity is its top priority, supports the humanitarian assistance for the residents of Gaza, coordinates the access for different Confederations and unions to Gaza and ensures the success of their activity through coordination with the Israeli security forces.

      This activity of the Histadrut proves that it is possible to offer humanitarian assistance to the residents of Gaza via peaceful means whose positive results yield assistance and aid that are meaningful.

      The conduct of the flotilla’s organizers and their methods of action utterly contradict the cooperation and the responsibility to achieve the goal we all aspire to attain — effective humanitarian assistance for the residents of Gaza.”

  5. David Straiton says:

    The State of Israel has been ignoring edicts from the U.N.for many years.Is there any hope that they will change their attitude,in the current crisis?
    Forgive me if I reflect a pessimistic viewpoint,I sncerely hope I am proven to be wrong!

  6. lenathehyena says:

    We have heard much of the outrage against Israel before and once news organisations get bored the story then everything goes back to normal. Israel is so important to the USA, which is why it pumps billions into shoring it up, so there will never by a united front against the terror and violence perpetrated by the Israeli state. There is never a shortage of Israeli spokespeople willing to step up and argue black is white about what has been happening with the Palestinians for years. Lies are reeled off in the way Goebbels would have been proud of and critics of the Israeli military state are accused of being anti-Semitic by the thin-skinned Jewish lobby in force throughout the world. For all the criticism it is likely nothing will happen – the UN will do nothing, as is its way, and government leaders will issue statements which do nothing to help the Palestinians. Even the world saviour, the peace envoy, Blair has been slow to react. Get rid of him for starters. That would be something at least.

  7. joe kane says:

    Next time Israel will use more force, indeed.

    The violent racist apartheid state will soon have another opportunity to carry out its international campaign of violence and terror against anyone who gets in its way.
    The MV Rachel Corrie is already heading towards Gaza from Turkey –

    Rachel Corrie’ Aid Ship Headed Toward Gaza
    Huffington Post
    01 June 2010
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/01/rachel-corrie-aid-ship-he_n_595816.html

    Who else would get away with threatening to carry out terrorism and mass murder against civilians in this way ?

    all the best CB

  8. Tocasaid says:

    Some rogue states are more equal…

    I’m sure if we all tried hard enough, we could find an Orwell quote for every Tom, Dick and barsteward from Israel to the ConDems. And George Foulkes.

  9. Hi Kevin,
    Below is the letter Robin Harper’s sending your way. Thanks for getting in touch.

    Yours
    James
    Office of the Green MSPs

    Dear Kevin,
    Thank you for your letter dated June 2nd, 2010. The Scottish Green Party have long been committed to peace and non-violence. We support efforts towards mutual recognition of the rights to independent statehood and secure borders of Palestinians and Israelis and a rapid end to violence in the region. We support an end to the blockade on Gaza, and it is clear that the Israeli Government’s violence towards a peaceful convoy involving your friend have been shocking. I understand your personal upset and your fear for her life and wellbeing.

    My colleague Patrick Harvie lodged the following parliamentary motion in April, and outlines our concern for the Israeli/Palestine situation:

    S3M-06106 Patrick Harvie (Glasgow) (Scottish Green Party): Exhibition on Israeli Technology— That the Parliament notes the intended exhibition at Holyrood by the organisation, Scottish Friends of Israel, due to take place in the last week of April 2010, which will aim to promote Israel’s contribution to medicine, science and technology; recognises the deep feelings of anger that exist at the record of the Israeli Government’s treatment of Palestinians over decades and in particular the military action taken in recent years; is concerned that the planned exhibition could give the false impression that the Scottish Parliament as a body condones the record of the Israeli Government or wishes to promote the interests of that government; believes that the prolonged, brutal and unacceptable mistreatment of the Palestinians should be the central issue that the Parliament addresses in any events that relate to the Israel/Palestine situation, and invites those involved in organising the exhibition to reconsider their decision.

    Supported by: Hugh O’Donnell, Shirley-Anne Somerville, Dr Bill Wilson, Robin Harper, Jim Tolson, Elaine Smith, Sandra White, Mike Pringle, Christine Grahame, Joe FitzPatrick, Margo MacDonald, Pauline McNeill, Bill Kidd, Dr Richard Simpson, Patricia Ferguson, Marlyn Glen, Bill Butler, Linda Fabiani, Alison McInnes, Malcolm Chisholm, Cathy Peattie, Angela Constance, Jackie Baillie, Dr Alasdair Allan

    Lodged on Tuesday, April 06, 2010; Current

    I have spoken in two Petitions Committee meetings on the subject of the ill timed exhibition in praise of Israeli technology. The exhibition caused much understandable offence in the light of the murderous and disproportionate assault on Gaza launched in reprisal for a Hamas rocket attack. I described the Israeli Government as being a rogue state, and I have seen not only no reason to reassess this judgement, but every reason to repeat and reinforce the assertion in the aftermath of the illegal act of piracy and violence committed against the freedom flotilla.

    I have lodged my support this week to a motion regarding the Freedom Flotilla that condemns the actions of the Israeli Government.

    S3M-06448 Joe FitzPatrick (Dundee West) (Scottish National Party): Freedom Flotilla— That the Parliament condemns the actions of the Israeli Government that, in what is considered to be in violation of international law, ordered the boarding of the freedom flotilla in international waters leading to the deaths of at least nine human rights activists; notes that among the 600 passengers detained is Dundee man Ali El-Awaisi, who was delivering humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza that included 13 pallets full of medicine, clothes, toys and building materials, worth around £30,000, donated by the people of Dundee; welcomes the donations given by the Fire Brigade Union, Tayside for Justice in Palestine, Friends of Al-Aqsa, Yusuf Youth Initiative and all the mosques in Tayside and all others who contributed, and calls for the immediate release of Ali El-Awaisi and all members of the freedom flotilla and an end to the blockade of Gaza.

    Supported by: Shirley-Anne Somerville, Patricia Ferguson, Jamie Hepburn, Christine Grahame, Sandra White, Dr Bill Wilson, Gil Paterson, Maureen Watt, Pauline McNeill, Bill Kidd, Hugh O’Donnell, Christina McKelvie, Aileen Campbell, Robin Harper, Dr Alasdair Allan, Stuart McMillan, Bob Doris, Nigel Don, Angela Constance

    Lodged on Tuesday, June 01, 2010; Current

    As far as your three questions are concerned, these will be discussed at our next Party Council. These are certainly approaches that I would consider, but you will understand I do not write policy on the hoof at this level and will wait until we have had a chance to discuss fully with Party members and other European Green Parties so we can make a coordinated response.

    I will continue to provide support in any way I can to end this terrible violence and these illegal and inhumane actions by the Israeli Government.

    Yours sincerely

    Robin Harper

  10. Kevin W says:

    Good stuff Jamie/Robin. I’ve had excellent responses from Margo McDonald and Ian McKee. Weaker ones from David McLetchie and Gavin Brown of the Tories. But all-in-all good to see so many in the Scottish Parliament – including the First Minister – taking a principled stand against the actions of the Israeli state.

    INFO: Margo is supporting another strongly worded moton which has been tabled by Christine Graham of the SNP:

    MOTION: SUPERMARKET BOYCOTT OF ISRAELI PRODUCE

    “That the Parliament supports calls for peaceful direct action to be taken against the state of Israel for what is considered its ongoing flagrant disregard for international law and failure to uphold international standards of behaviour in its efforts to destabilise the entire Middle East region through its actions and policies; supports calls for a complete withdrawal of Israeli produce from Tesco, Asda, the Co-operative, Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s Somerfield and Waitrose and considers that Scots consumers can make a real difference by refusing to purchase Israeli produce from these UK-based compaines, and calls on those supermarket chains to refuse to buy produce from Israel until it has demonstrated its commitment to peace and the rule of law.”

    Lodged on 1st June. Supported (at time of letter) by Bill Kidd, Joe Fitzpatrick, Dr Bill Wilson, Mike Pringle, Margo MacDonald.

    I hope folk reading these Motions consider writing to their own MSPs ASAP and ask them to support both.

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