A reply from the British government on points I raised re Gaza, the West Bank and Palestine

Lord Hylton

I am posting below a comprehensive reply from the British Government on points I raised about Gaza, the West Bank, Palestine, and the wider issue of Palestinian refugees.  Readers may wish to take up points with their MP.

“The UK Government remains concerned at the situation in Gaza.  We believe that the restrictions on movements of goods and people, including on access to agricultural and fishing areas, do tremendous damage to the economy and living standards of ordinary people in Gaza and only serve to strengthen, not weaken, Hamas. We are pressing the Israeli Government at ministerial and official level to ease access restrictions.  We do this in close coordination with the Office of the Quartet Representative and European Union partners.

You ask about UN Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) funding in your correspondence.  I can reassure you that the UK is currently working with UNRWA and other key donors on a resource rationalisation strategy, including a renewed effort to encourage UNRWA’s core group of donors to maintain their previous levels of funding and to look at non-traditional sources of funding.  I would also like to add that the UK is a strong supporter of UNRWA and its work, and has already provided £23,264,000 this year and is looking at ways to provide further support.

You also raised concerns regarding UNRWA’s programme for schools and houses.  UNRWA plans to build 100 schools in Gaza to provide education to the 40,000 Palestinian refugee children currently without a school place.  UNRWA has formal approval from the Israeli Authorities to build 42 schools and has already completed five of these.  UNRWA has completed 150 houses out of its housing programme and is awaiting approval from the Israeli authorities on four new housing projects.  UNRWA has exprienced difficulties in getting the necessary materials for construction into Gaza.  UNRWA has estimated that they need around 15,000 truckloads of materials to complete approved projects; currently their quota of trucks to enter into Gaza stands at approximately 50 a day.

The UK is working closely with UNRWA on this issue.  We continue to press the Israeli Government to ease restrictions on the import of construction materials for international projects.  We are also funding the UN Access Coordination Unit to work with the Israeli authorities, UN agencies and non-governmental agencies to facilitate the transfer of goods and materials into Gaza.

Regarding fuel supplies in Gaza, the UK has not made any specific representations to Israel on this as we do not see Israeli restrictions on supplies of electricity or fuel as being the main cause of electricity shortages in Gaza.

The Gaza Electricity Distribution Company is sourcing industrial diesel for the Gaza power plant through the tunnels so there is no shortage of fuel for the power plant, andi in fact we understand there could be up to a month’s worth of fuel in storage.

With fishing limits and exports, we and EU partners are urging the Israelis to extend the current fishing limit from 3 to 12 miles and to allow increased exports from Gaza to the West Bank, Israel and other third countries.

I share your concerns about the treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli prisons.  We have welcomed Israel’s recent decision to raise the age of legal majority to Palestinian children in the Israeli military justice system.  We continue to lobby for further improvements, including a reduction in the number of arrests that occur at night and the introduction of audio-visual recording of interrogations.  Our Ambassador most recently met with senior Israeli officials on 6 October to outline our continued concerns.  I also raised the issue of child detainees with the Israeli Ambassador on 26 October.  In addition, the UK is supporting research into this issue by leading UK and international lawyers and is funding the work of Defence for Children International and No Legal Frontiers on the rights of Palestinian child detainees.

I also share your concerns about continued restrictions on family visits to both children and adults in custody.  We raise our concerns about the treatment of Palestinian detainees with the Israeli authorities on a regular basis and I raised them with Minister of Justice Neeman during his last visit to the region.

On your other points, we too are concerned about the humanitarian consequences of the withdrawal of UK Agency for International Development assistance to the Palestinians, and the withholding of tax revenue by the Israeli Government.  We continue to call on the US and other donors to work with the Palestinian Authority to ensure any future state will be stable, well-run and an effective partner for peace.  I hope that a way can be found to release the US funds currently on hold so that the valuable work that USAID is doing in the West Bank and Gaza can continue.  Withdrawing these programmes would be in no-one’s interests.

We have condemned the Israeli decison to withhold tax revenues due to the Palestinian Authority.  It is profoundly unhelpful to our joint efforts to improve the lives of ordinary Palestinians, develop the capacity of the Palestinian Authority and build confidence between the two sides.  It is also against Israel’s own interests, since it has direct implications for the Palestinian Authority’s ability to maintain effective security in the West Bank.  We have noted the Israeli decision on 30 November to finally transfer the tax revenues but expect that the Israelis will henceforth transfer the revenues in an automatic and timely manner in accordance with its legal obligations.

Finally, I too believe that handing over of Area C to Palestinian aadministration would be a very significant and positive step.”

19 comments for “A reply from the British government on points I raised re Gaza, the West Bank and Palestine

  1. maude elwes
    03/01/2012 at 3:07 pm

    If the British government are truly concerned and feel having a blockade such as this is detrimental to the life and health of the people of Gaza, why don’t they stop trade on every level with this inhumane country? Until they cease their ‘hate’ crimes they should be treated as a pariah state.

    To pretend it is other than what it is encourages that kind of government to continue in the way it is.

    Why is Israel any different from any other rogue nation? Is it because they plead the ‘holocuast’ at every opportunity. Yet, they subject others to what they themselves have experienced.

    Unless the world begins to respond in kind to all nations of this nature, they are in effect condoning the brutality they say they are against.

    And additionally, Israel is planning and in the process of annexing Jerusalem. Which is not now and never was part of Moses settlement. Jerusalem was Judea and then Palestine.

    Jerusalem is a city of great importance to the big three world religions and as such should be a quite separate state, akin to Monaco. The treatement of christians as well as Muslims in that part of the world goes against ‘Human Rights’ expectations.

    Simply stop it! And get rid of the excuses played of one kind and another that you have adopted.

    You only have to read about the treatment of women and female children to know what is coming next. It has already gone too far.


    • Lord Hylton
      Lord Hylton
      04/01/2012 at 12:42 pm

      maude elwes: I hope you will repeat your poiints to your MP

    • Gareth Howell
      08/01/2012 at 3:54 pm

      feel having a blockade such as this is detrimental to the life and health of the people of Gaza, why don’t they stop trade on every level

      Are there not more Palestinians living in Jordan and the UK, than there are in Gaza itself? Or are they Iraqis? The obsession with the soil (father’s land)rather than with
      nationhood (mother tongue) is something to behold.

      Hoe does the language, the tongue, differ between the three. Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, and even Egypt?

      These things are surely Zionist obsessions not Arabic ones?

  2. Frank W. Summers III
    03/01/2012 at 7:51 pm

    Lord Hylton.

    I think the UK government shows a great deal of solidarity with the Palestinians. Consider the reality of their request that:

    ” With fishing limits and exports, we and EU partners are urging the Israelis to extend the current fishing limit from 3 to 12 miles and to allow increased exports from Gaza to the West Bank, Israel and other third countries.”

    It would be hard to find a time when Britain has taken a casual attitude towards smuggling arms into the British Isles to overthrow the government. Fishing boat movement on a normal scale in the current situation is an invitation arms suppliers to hostiles and new hostiles. As I write this a single European alien stands accused of starting 25 or more fires in the Los Angeles area. There is simply no doubt that in the modern context untrammeled flow across frontiers gravely injures,destabilizes and destroys societies in varied conditions. Israel is in a most threatening situation.

    • maude elwes
      04/01/2012 at 2:15 pm

      The Los Angeles arsonist is, in fact ‘German’ not ‘British.’


      The unrelenting dislike and disrespect of the British in the US is gaining force daily. And the reports, erroneously, such as this mix up between British and German deviants, showing British as criminals in US society, is a growing passtime on many news outlets. Hysterical when you read the facts regarding the super power, those leaders of the free world’s, criminality rate.

      Could the political class be the instigatoros of this disdain? I wonder!


      Or, is it simply an in built resentment of our ‘classy’ House of Lords, as opposed to the Washington lack of protocol?


      • Frank W. Summers III
        04/01/2012 at 7:10 pm

        Maude Elwes,
        The use of the quotes suggest that I was implying he was British whereas in fact i simply say he was European. He could have been African, Turk, Chinese or something else and my point about a single alien doing damage would be unchanged. Thus you argue against an argument not made. However he is in the EU society and that is pertinent to this discussion in a very secondary way. The main reason for using any adjective at all is because he is not a Mexican and the largest group of aliens here both legal and otherwise are Mexicans and many people will blame Mexicans for any act committed by an alien unless an adjective not including Mexicans is used when an alien who is not Mexican does something wrong.

        Although this may show that I dislike the British I am not sure how that passion would reveal itself in this line of thought and writing. Had you been planning to burn Los Angeles?

        • maude elwes
          05/01/2012 at 1:58 pm

          You Americans and the use of alien you have is offensive.

          You see those who enter your country as ‘aliens.’ However, the mass influx we have here, especially in London, of Americans, see themselves as something other than that.

          Now why is that? Americans are aliens here. And they don’t pay their fines when they park illegally. And it amounts to millions of uncollected taxes to the British people.

          So, you aliens should be banned from being here until you pay up. And then, respect the fact that on my soil, you are all from another planet as well.

          • Frank W. Summers III
            06/01/2012 at 4:39 pm

            Maude ELwes,

            I meant alien more in the sense of our historic “Aliens and Sedition Acts” than in terms of the film series Alien, Aliens and so forth. I believe others have mentioned Americans being unwelcome abroad before.There have even been a variety of books on the subject. Then of course American travelers do butter the bread of sizable minorities in London and many other cities around the world.

  3. MilesJSD
    03/01/2012 at 9:18 pm

    Question #1:
    Why has Israel approved the building of 42 Arab-sectarian schools,
    within Israel’s own national survival borders,
    when at least the clear-sighted world knows that
    either the overt teaching curriculum therein or the extra-mural or secretive anti-Israel culture insidiously nurtured thereby, or both, of “extinction-to-Israel and all Israelis and Jews” and “takeover the whole-of-that-Israel-land-for-Palestinian-Arab Rule”
    will sooner or later result in the longstanding slowly festering spasmodicly hot-war turning into an all-out Middle-East and possibly Worldwide no-holds-barred War ?

    Supplementary Questiomn:
    Has the United Nations and all the nation-state stakeholders in the Israel-Palestine conflict agreed a standard ‘compulsory’ common-syllabus to be a part of all schools’ curriculums ?
    pointedly here, majorly including good-two-way communication, honest-argumentation,and most especially Friendly Method III Needs & Hows Recognition and Win-Win-Win Cooperative Problem-Solving for and by All ?
    And if so, how effective are the included-follow-up plans for this be implemented, monitored and enforced ?

    • Lord Hylton
      Lord Hylton
      04/01/2012 at 12:40 pm

      Milesjsd: Anything that you can do to ensure that text-books, curriculum and teaching in both Israel and Palestine favour mutual rrespect and peaceful co-existence, would be most constructive.

      • MilesJSD
        05/01/2012 at 12:19 am

        OK, Lord Hylton –
        your reply is clearly and honestly a spiritually-emoted one, and I would guess is coming in all faith from a certain somewhat heroic fatigue and perplexity, not to mention from the generally debilitating-frustration that must surely be weighing down very heavily upon all those who are as it were ‘inescapably-locked-into’ these Internationally-Crucial and Long-Term HumanRace-Survival Matters, as you can I think be seen to be, and thank you.

        That open-heartedness I do respect and defend.

        Nonetheless “logically”, further wording in this blog appears to be trusting me (JSDM) to be as it were
        “The Common God Almighty, ensuring that both Israelis & Palestinians “favour”
        (as “God” I have to take it this will be in the real-on-the-ground-sense of “establishing & implementing” Mutual-Respect and Peaceful-Co-existence)
        (i) text-books*
        (ii) curriculum*
        (iii) teaching scripts*
        (* in UN-approved or appointed, faithful-to-the-one-original-text, translations)

        I reply then
        One of the “Anythings I can do”
        towards ensuring both Arabs and Israelis within Israel’s all-around border (s ?)
        compatibly within the huger borders held by the many and variously near-almighty surrounding Arab Nationstates,
        & equally even ‘dominantly’ compatibly within & between the ultimately-hugest borders held by All-Other-Nationstates and the UN

        is to be applying myself to both progressively learning and individually-implementing what you call “Mutual Respect” & “Peaceful-Coexistence”
        which by some others is called
        “Friendly Method III Needs & Hows Recognition and Cooperative Win-Win-Win** Problem-Solving
        (** for a detailed printout-able Guidelines and 5-steps version please see under non-profit citizens website http://www.minorityofone.net or http://www.lifefresh.co.uk .)

        ‘The world is in a mess^ whatever can I do ?’
        God in greater wisdom says:
        ‘Just build a better “you” ‘ –

        So in this, I now include and do heartily recommend for immediate individual use by any Party, Neutral, or Minority-of-one, the self-awarenessing and strengthening

        Eight(8) Mindfulness Practical-Meditations,
        published through Piatkus 2011 and already re-printed six times,
        by Professor Mark Williams & Danny Penman
        (and of course by likely greater and historical sources, which these current authors do acknowledge & appreciate, and upon which they may have drawn or added further-development):

        Ooe may start one’s own ‘minority-of-one peaceful-revolution’ simply by using the CD included inside the back-cover –
        Personally I am finding it possible and helpful to copy-onto-audiotape, and regularly pause the CD (not the tape) so as to insert much longer silences which for me are essential as I am so slow to even become aware of certain ‘feelings’ and ‘differences’
        much less to become able to ‘let each of them “be”’
        and later to tackle ‘carefully changing something you’ve not in the past been both aware of and in a position to change for the better’.

        But the main thing we here-participants can (and so far may) do, is surely to go on publishing such dialogues as this one, that you, Lord Hylton thank you, have invited.

        Incidentally, Baroness Murphy may well by this time have begun familiarising herself with one of the early practical-mindfulness-meditations from the above “Mindfulness” work which perhaps could be said overall to be as-it-were raisin’ awareness ?

  4. noisytappet
    04/01/2012 at 11:13 am

    Thank you for all you do, Lord Hylton, but who on earth wrote that tripe on behalf of the Government? It uses the same cowardly language as I’ve received many times over the last several years – “remains concerned…” “we are pressing the Israeli Government…” “continue to press…” “urging the Israelis…” Sounds as if it’s scripted in Tel Aviv. And never any real action, of course.

    None of this diplomatic drivel has made the slightest difference to Israel’s vile conduct, nor is it intended to remembering that Hague and Burt, and their boss Cameron, have pledged undying support for the thuggish regime.

    And now, apparently, it’s acceptable for the besieged Gazans to have to smuggle their fuel oil for electricity generation through the tunnels.

    One answer is to suspend Israel from the EU-Israel Association Agreement, whose purpose is to promote (1) peace and security, (2) shared prosperity through, for example, the creation of a free trade zone, and (3) cross-cultural rapprochement. It governs not only EU-Israel relations but Israel’s relations with the EU’s other Mediterranean partners – including the Palestinian National Authority. Israel has undertaken to ‘respect human rights and democratic principles’ set out as a general condition in Article 2, which constitutes an essential element of the Agreement.

    This clause allows steps to be taken to enforce the contractual requirement regarding human rights and to dissuade partners from policies and practices that disrespect those rights. The Agreement also requires respect for self-determination of peoples and fundamental freedoms for all.

    Israel relies heavily on exports to Europe so the EU could, at a stroke, end the evil occupation, murder and land theft, and resolve the problem in the Holy Land. But instead of implementing Article 2 the EU (and that included Britain) continues to reward Israel for criminal behaviour.

  5. mary
    05/01/2012 at 1:07 pm

    I echo NoisyTappet’s remarks and would urge you Lord Hylton to let us know who was the signatory to that letter. I too have received similar anodyne replies from the ME section of the FCO, as have many friends, when we have written with our concerns about the Palestinians as they attempt to live their lives under the Israel jackboot.

  6. noisytappet
    07/01/2012 at 11:42 pm

    C’mon Lord Hylton, why so coy about naming the individual who insulted you by fobbing you off with the same banal and limp-wristed response that’s been sent out a thousand times?

  7. Arthur Askey
    17/01/2012 at 8:36 am

    “we do not see Israeli restrictions on supplies of electricity or fuel as being the main cause of electricity shortages in Gaza.”

    What are the Palestinians in Gaza expected to generate electricity with, farts? That pretty much sums up the UK’s position on everything regarding Israel, “we do not see…”

    Israel have repeatedly bombed Gaza’s only power station and uses the restrictions on energy supplies as yet another tool for the collective punishment of the civilian population in Gaza. What’s so hard to see?

  8. stuart littlewood
    19/01/2012 at 3:34 pm

    Here is the text of my response to a letter from Alistair Burt, minister for Middle East affairs, one of several similar to that posted by Lord Hylton. It had been forwarded by my MP Henry Bellingham, another Foreign Office minister…

    Thank you for forwarding Mr Burt’s reply of 29 December. You won’t be surprised to learn that I’m far from satisfied with what he says.

    He talks of being concerned about the situation and continuing to press the Israeli governmment to ease access restrictions including the 3 mile limit on fishing. We’ve heard the same hand-wringing many time before. The British Government’s empty words have made not the slightest difference to Israel’s contemptible conduct.

    The four crossings through which vital supplies can be brought in from Israel and beyond (including the occupied West Bank) are Sufa, Nahal Oz, Kerem Abu Salem and Karni. Only Kerem Abu Salem, a small crossing in the south of Gaza, has been allowed by Israel to operate on anything like a normal basis, say reports. Since the closure of Karni last March, the Israelis have made sure that all goods brought into the Gaza Strip have to go through Kerem Abu Salem. The capacity of this crossing, as you might have guessed, is insufficient for needs and its location means longer distances, longer journey times, higher fees and higher costs for Gaza’s merchants. And of course those extra charges have to be passed on. Now I read that the Karem Abu Salem crossing is to be demolished.

    As for the movement of Gaza’s people, Oxfam’s latest Gaza Blockade Factsheet

    (December 2011) reports


    that there are only 2 crossings, one between Gaza and Israel, and one between Gaza and Egypt. Israeli security clearance is still required to use either crossing. The Erez crossing (to Israel) remains open but most traffic has been moved to Rafah crossing (to Egypt), reducing natural movement between Gaza and the West Bank. The overall ban on exit and entry is still in place.

    Even for UN local humanitarian staff Israel is approving fewer permits than before the promised “easing”, while permit policy for aid workers and medical patients remains unpredictable and time consuming.

    The report also says the near-total ban on exports continues, with 2011 exports running at less than 1% of pre-blockade levels. “In 2011 to date, only 196 trucks of exports have left Gaza. This is only 14 more trucks than in 2010 and far below the 25,480 truckloads of goods needed annually to meet pre-blockade export levels. It is also significantly less than the 400 trucks of exports promised each day under the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access. 4 truckloads of strawberries recently left Gaza between the 27- 29 November 2011. Before that, there have been no exports since May 2011 when 1

    truckload of flowers was allowed to be exported to the Netherlands.”

    For a long time Israel’s intention has been to impose a final separation between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, even though the two are internationally recognized as one integral territory. Under international law everyone has the right to freely choose their place of residence within a single territory. Israel’s separation policy includes not only a block on travel for work, for trade, for family reunion, for medical attention and for worship in Jerusalem, it also targets higher education by making it virtually impossible for Gaza students to reach the eight Palestinian universities in the West Bank. I’m reminded of Berlanty, a Christian girl from Gaza who was living in the West Bank and studying for her degree at Bethlehem University. She was about to sit her finals when she was detained at the Israeli checkpoint between Bethlehem and Ramallah after attending a job interview.

    The self-styled “most moral army in the world” blindfolded and handcuffed Berlanty, loaded her into a military jeep and drove her from Bethlehem to Gaza, where she was dumped in the darkness late at night and told: “You are in Gaza.”

    The West Bank remains cruelly occupied with dead-of-night raids and arrests, even of children. As you know the Israelis, not content with torture, love to shackle children. Mr Burt said recently (Hansard) in the House of Commons: “We continue to make representations in relation to children’s rights – the right of audience, the right to interpreters and the like-and from the Dispatch Box recently I said that the practice of shackling children was wrong.”

    Wrong? Let’s not mince words. Mr Burt’s friends are plain sick, sadistic and criminal.

    The Israeli government also continues to instal armed squatter-thugs in hundreds of illegal ‘settlements’, from where they swoop down to terrorise local Palestinian communities and destroy their crops and other property.

    Israel as usual acts in open defiance of all law and standards of decency. And as usual the international community does nothing except wring their hands and turn their backs, as exemplified time and again by Mr Burt and his predecessors.

    Take fishing. Israel has no business restricting Gaza’s fishing boats to 3 miles in the first place. Maritime law needs to be enforced.

    Only 11 percent of construction materials needed for aid agencies and PA approved projects have been allowed into Gaza, therefore people do not benefit as they should from humanitarian organizations’ reconstruction efforts. Only 28 percent of UNRWA building projects in Gaza have been approved and these are facing serious delays. Israel’s ban on building materials has prevented the reconstruction of most of the 3,540 homes destroyed and the 2,870 damaged during Operation Cast Lead, which means that extended families are often squeezed into one house or, in some cases, one room.

    Oxfam reports that 250 schools in Gaza are still out of action. 85 percent of schools that are operational have to work double shifts, which means shorter class time and an end to extra-curricular activities.

    Starved of essential imports, including raw materials, and its exports blocked, Gaza has seen its economy decimated. The private sector has lost 120,000 jobs. 26 percent of the Gazan workforce, including 38 percent of youths, are unemployed.

    Materials for 17 water and sanitation projects are held up by the Israeli authorities. In the meantime 90-95 percent of water from Gaza’s only source, the underground aquifer, is undrinkable. Experts warn that at the current rate of depletion, the aquifer will become unusable by 2016, and the damage will be irreversible by 2020.

    Gaza residents are restricted to an average of 91 litres of water per day while Israelis use 280 litres. The World Health Organization says 100-150 litres a day is required meet health needs

    There has been no easing of the unilaterally imposed ‘buffer zone’, a restricted-access area around Gaza’s perimeter with Israel, which extends in places up to 1,500 metres into Gaza. On the coast it limits fishing to 3 nautical miles. This places 35 percent of Gaza’s farmland and 85 percent of its coastal fishing waters off limits, making a devastating hole in the economy. The livelihoods of an estimated 178,000 people are directly affected, including 3,500 licensed fishermen. Israel enforces the buffer zone by sniper fire and shelling.

    From January to December there were 72 reports of fishermen being shot at. The 2010 annual fishing catch was down by 45 percent compared to 2008 before the 3 mile limit was imposed – a desperately serious matter for a population whose children are undernourished.

    Gaza must obtain fuel oil for power through its “smuggling” tunnels

    The following words were written as part of what Lord Hylton calls “a comprehensive reply” to questions he had raised with the British Government about Gaza, the West Bank and the wider issue of Palestinian refugees, which he has posted on his House of Lords blog


    “Regarding fuel supplies in Gaza, the UK has not made any specific representations to Israel on this as we do not see Israeli restrictions on supplies of electricity or fuel as being the main cause of electricity shortages in Gaza. The Gaza Electricity Distribution Company is sourcing industrial diesel for the Gaza power plant through the tunnels so there is no shortage of fuel for the power plant, and in fact we understand there could be up to a month’s worth of fuel in storage.”

    It seems that Britain now approves of forcing Gaza’s civilians to resort to black market methods to obtain vital fuel oil. Did no-one in the Foreign Office think to inform Mr Burt that the Geneva Conventions place a solemn obligation on occupying powers to supply utilities such as water and power to occupied populations? And that according to the UN Israel still occupies Gaza?

    Oxfam also reports that the near total ban on fuel imports for public sale, imposed by Israel in October 2008, also remains in place. Fuel for home heating, running cars and private industry is only available through the black market. While on the subject of energy needs, let’s remember that Gaza has an extensive offshore gas field which Israel prevents the Palestinians from exploiting and is trying to steal.

    75 percent of the population currently receives humanitarian aid. Approximately 1.1 million people are receiving food aid from humanitarian organizations, primarily UNWRA and the World Food Programme. UNWRA is currently desperate to raise £300 million to help Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank still struggling in the wreckage and devastation caused Israel’s blitzkrieg 3 years ago. Left in peace and freedom the Palestinians are resourceful enough to make their own way in the world. By denying them that freedom and remaining complicit in Israel’s unlawful schemes the international community milks the West’s taxpayers year after year to provide cover for Israel’s crimes.

    How clever is it for us to be subsidising the cruel ambitions of that lawless regime?

    The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights represents 1,046 individual victims of the Gaza offensive. Criminal and civil complaints on behalf of each one were submitted to the Israeli authorities; so far substantive responses have only been received in 2 criminal cases, and 2 civil cases. To pursue these further the Israeli authorities demand a court guarantee of 20,000 NIS in each case, placing so-called Israeli justice far beyond the reach of most claimants.

    The purpose of the 1995 EU-Israel Association Agreement is to promote (1) peace and security, (2) shared prosperity through, for example, economic co-operation, free trade and free movement of capital, and (3) cross-cultural rapprochement. It governs not only EU-Israel relations but Israel’s relations with the EU’s other Mediterranean partners – including the Palestinian National Authority.

    To enjoy these privileges Israel undertook to show “respect for human rights and democratic principles” set out as a general condition in Article 2, which says: “Relations between the Parties, as well as all the provisions of the Agreement itself, shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles, which guides their internal and international policy and constitutes an essential element of this Agreement.”

    This clause allows action to be taken to enforce the contractual requirement regarding human rights and to dissuade partners from policies and practices that disrespect those rights. The Agreement also requires respect for self-determination of peoples and fundamental freedoms for all.

    Even the Israelis must know that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights dopted by the UN in 1948, Article 13, states: (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state, and (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

    But Israel shows the same contempt for the rules of association as it does for international law. The EU could, at a stroke, end the occupation, the murder and the land theft, and perhaps resolve the whole problem in the Holy Land, by invoking Article 2 of the Agreement and pulling the plug instead of continuing to reward Israel for its crimes.

    It is to Britain’s everlasting shame that it seems unable, these days, to summon enough integrity to do the right thing.

    • Lord Hylton
      Lord Hylton
      23/01/2012 at 10:08 am

      Stuart Littlewood – Many thanks for your detailed comment of 19th January. I presume you have sent your reply to Henry Bellingham MP. Do please circulate it as widely as possible, including your MEP. Woud your local press or any other publications take it, or a shorter version?

      I had not seen the Oxfam fact-sheet that you mention.

      We must all continue to campaign, especially in the new Middle-Eastern climate, which will increasingly affect Israel. Perhaps you and I should meet, particularly if you are in the London area.

      • stuart littlewood
        24/01/2012 at 10:54 pm

        Thank you, and yes Henry Bellingham has my reply. I had a long chat with him before Christmas – he was very generous with his time – and we discussed Palestine and HMG’s outrageous attitude towards Iran. I contribute regularly to online news sites such as Redress, Palestine Chronicle, RamallahOnline, Intifada-Palestine and, in the US, Veterans Today and Salem-News,so the Foreign Office’s empty words were given a good airing. Local media not interested.

        A meeting is an excellent idea although London is a lengthy journey. If I can find your email address I’ll write you privately, if I may.

  9. Joseph Tillotson
    19/01/2012 at 4:13 pm

    There is a growing and diverse segment here in the U.S. that are truly alarmed that our government has been seriously compromised by the influence of the AIPAC. . E. cantor the only Jewish senator recently promised Bibi that he would ensure that Israel would continue hegemony in our Congress even if it was contrary to the administration’s goals. And Netanyahu addressing our own Congress with 27 standing ovations was too much to bear. We fought the Iraq war for the benefit of Israel and next target:Iran. The backlash when comes will be severe.

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