Dear [name of your MP]
I am writing to seek your personal response on Israel’s recent demolition of seventy homes in the Palestinian village of Sur Baher and to ask you to approach the Foreign Secretary for his feedback regarding Israel’s ongoing demolition of Palestinian homes and the resulting forced displacement that are happening in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and also within the state of Israel.
The EU issued a statement on 22 July calling on Israel to halt these demolitions, stressing how these actions undermined hope for a lasting peace in the region and noted that the land on which Sur Baher stands is in Area A and, as such, in accordance with the Oslo peace accords, ‘all civil issues are under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority.
Prior to the Sur Baher demolitions, according to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) over 201 structures had already been demolished in Palestinian communities since the beginning of 2019 leading to the displacement of 295 people. Over 49,000 structures have been demolished in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) since 1967.
[If applicable] I am interested in this situation because I have been to Israel/Palestine and have witnessed the situation on both sides of the divide. I am also a supporter of ICAHD UK, a Chapter of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, which works for the end of the Occupation with a just and sustainable future for both people groups.
The ongoing demolitions throughout the OPT include punitive demolitions, a policy that Israel reintroduced in 2014 despite its own findings that it does not deter Palestinian acts of violence and continuing its history of expulsion and displacement of Bedouin families since 1948. This legitimizes Israel’s longstanding policy against Palestinian citizens of the state, a policy that is rooted in an ideology of racial discrimination, segregation, and dispossession.
An indication of the human impact of such house demolitions may be gleaned from this account (shortened) by Yuval Avraham on Ismail and his family, residents of Sur Baher:
‘I am devastated. I spent the night in Sur Baher. I've seen with my owמ eyes how they demolished Ismail's home/ A gentle man with kind eyes/ He planned every single detail in the house. "My dream home," he said to me at 3am, before the disaster, and his leg was shaking. He kept saying "I wish it will not happen, I wish they will not demolish.
Ismail had built his home legally. Completely legally. He received all the permits needed from the PA. But Israel decided that the house is too close to the wall it decided to build, so it needs to be crushed. "A security matter", they say. Houses must not be adjacent to the wall.
But the wall is a lame excuse/ It is clear to everybody in the village that there is no difficulty in crossing the wall. Tens of thousands of Palestinians do it every day. Whoever wants to cross it and hide in one of the houses can do so within a second anyway.
No, don't get this wrong. This is not about security. Tonight I was a witness of the way in which we are Judaizing the land. We are Judaizing this land. Anybody who does not understand those words – Judaizing the land – should start checking themselves, and start reading. Read about what is happening between the River and the Sea, in East Jerusalem, in the Negev-Naqab, in the Galilee, in the West Bank. Read about discriminating planning which chokes whole Palestinian communities and block their expansion, about land confiscation, about villages in the Negev getting demolished and Jewish towns built in their stead. Read about the expulsions in the Jordan Valley and South Mount Hebron, about the ongoing Nakba all across the area.
Tonight they destroyed Ismail's life. When In left, an hour ago, he stared vacantly into space and mumbled to himself. The light in his eyes was gone.
Please inform me when our government will exert sufficient pressure on Israel, including the imposition of sanctions, and while we remain a member of the EU, will the FCO lead the way in calling for the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement whilst Israel is in breach of human rights?