Write to your MP about Israel’s repressive policies against Palestinians which continue with added cruelty during the coronavirus pandemic.
(Sample letter posted 30 March 2020)
At this unprecedented time in history when we are battling the coronavirus pandemic in the UK, I write to inform you of the current reality for Palestinians who have been living under a brutal military occupation for 53 years therefore they know all about closures, being confined to their homes and denied freedom of movement.
Instead of the Israeli government doing all it can to help the entire human population in that region, it continues its cruel discrimination and apartheid policies by unleashing yet more catastrophe upon the Palestinians. The Coronavirus has been found in Gaza where Israel has kept nearly two million people living under a severe land, air, and sea blockade for 13 years in one of the world’s most densely populated regions. In 2012, the UN predicted Gaza would be unliveable by 2020. Now with Gaza’s health care system on the brink of collapse, isn’t this the time to insist that the blockade is lifted immediately because this pandemic has the potential to devastate one of the world’s most vulnerable populations?
In addition, during this pandemic the Israeli army continues its repression of Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. It is demolishing homes and displacing families. It is serving eviction notices while people are under strict instructions to remain inside. A makeshift clinic to provide badly needed treatment during the spread of the coronavirus was demolished. Israel has distributed demolition orders to homes in the Occupied Palestine Territory as well as to Bedouin citizens of Israel who live in the Negev/Naqab. There has been an increase in the number and severity of Jewish settler attacks on Palestinians happening under the protective gaze of the army. Preparation continues for annexation of the Jordan Valley with three more settlement outposts established in the last few days. And during the last part of March, the Israeli government has approved the construction of yet more settlement units, illegal under international law, in other areas of the West Bank.
As we experience the deadly coronavirus sweeping through the world bringing fear and anxiety to every family and in some cases death, Palestinians continue to suffer under Israeli oppression and the international complicity of governments which have allowed Israel’s settler-colonialism to continue. The law is clear: under the Fourth Geneva Convention Israel has a duty to protect the indigenous population on the land that it occupies which means no home demolitions, no displacement of the indigenous population, no confiscation of land for use by the occupier and there must be access to health care. As recently as December 2019, the UN’s Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination released its latest report which recognizes that the Israeli authorities have designed laws which discriminate against the Palestinian people.
During this pandemic we should be seeing the best of humanity demonstrating care and compassion to others. Therefore, is not this the time to finally call Israel to account for its gross violations of international law, all well documented, rather than allowing Israel to proceed with its war crimes which demonstrate a complete lack of moral compass in the middle of a humanitarian crisis?
Please do all you can to raise this with our Foreign Minister. I await your response.