By Stephen Franklin
June 3, 2011
West Dunbarton Council say that they are boycotting Israel because of the Gaza War of Dec 08 to Jan 09. I sent a letter to the councilors responsible for that decision, and a response by Cllr Jim Bollan has been published on Ynet (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4077577,00.html.
The original letter was as follows:
Dear Mr Bollan and colleagues
I have been following the correspondence between councillors and friends of Israel and frankly the correspondence does you no credit.
Mr Bollan. You say “Fact. Israel illegally occupies Palestine. Just prior to my Council unanimously agreeing the BDS policy in 2009 the IDF murdered 1,000 innocent Palestinians”, and you say “Scots believe in equality and justice...words unknown to Zionist's.”
Let’s deal with the last quote first. A Zionist is somebody who believes in the words of Israel’s Declaration of Independence, which includes the following words “THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”
Israel live up to those words and is the only country in the Middle East that has anti-discrimination legislation. A few examples of things that Israel has done recently for its minority population can be seen on this page (http://verygoodnewsisrael.blogspot.com/2011/05/israels-weekly-good-news-...). A document including a raft of measures taken by the Israeli government on behalf of its minorities was presented to the UN about 5 years ago (http://unispal.un.org/unispal.nsf/59c118f065c4465b852572a500625fea/2bdd7...). A few years ago Israel had an acting head of state, Majalli Wahabi, from an ethnic minority. In the UK, where the head of state is also head of the C of E and , if I am not mistaken, of the Presbyterian church in Scotland, such a thing is inconceivable.
By contrast the (end of Article 7 of the) Hamas Charter calls for Jews to be killed and Hamas acts on that charter. Last month they fired a military grade anti-tank missile at an all yellow school bus. 30 schoolchildren had got off at the previous stop, but Hamas didn’t know that. The remaining child was killed. Hamas cheered and congratulated the murderers of parents and children including an infant and a baby in the village of Itamar recently. They try to carry out more such murders themselves. That is the reason that Gaza has a barrier around its Israeli border. It is ridiculous to call it a siege as almost all their needs are supplied across the border with Israel. If these were restricted, it was because the crossing points through which the goods were delivered were attacked so many times and because explosives were not infrequently discovered amongst the aid being delivered.
Following are excerpts from an interview with Palestinian cleric Sa'd Abu Jleidan, which aired on Al-Aqsa (Hamas TV) November 6, 2008:
Sa'd Abu Jleidan: The Koran warns against the hostility of the Jews, whom it presents as the worst enemies of the Muslims: "You will find that the people strongest in enmity for those who believe are the Jews and the polytheists."
This verse exemplifies how deeply rooted is the Jewish enmity toward Islam and the Muslims. The fire of hatred was ignited in their hearts, when they realized that the Prophet who was sent was not one of their own. Beforehand, "they used to pray for victory against those who disbelieve," but when he was sent, they denied him. Therefore, the Prophet waged a lengthy Jihad against them, which continues to this day, and will continue until the day of their annihilation, Allah willing.
The Jews are known to be treacherous. They murdered their own prophets. Ibn Mas'oud said: The Israelites would kill 300 Prophets in a single day, and then they went to the market. After killing 300 men, they went to the market, as if nothing happened. Ibn Mas'oud said that the Israelites killed 43 Prophets in a single hour, first thing in the morning. When 170 Israelites enjoined the killers to be virtuous and to refrain from vice, they were all killed in a single hour at the end of the day. Killing comes naturally to them. We're talking about a time when they didn't possess the enormous military arsenal that they have today. All they had were swords. When the Prophet Muhammad went to Al-Madina... We don't harbour hatred toward anyone. We are hostile to the Jews only because they occupied our land and defiled our holy places. That's why we declared war against them.
We are honoured to be the spearhead in defence of the honour of the Arab and Islamic nation in the face of these apes and pigs. This, however, does not exempt the Arabs from their responsibility, about which Allah will reckon with them on the Day of Judgment.
I can send you many more such clips from Al Aqsa TV, which is strictly controlled and censored by Hamas.
In the Palestine Authority territories the racial prejudice is such that recently somebody was judicially killed for selling land to a Jew. It is not illegal to sell land to an Israeli Arab, but it is punishable by death in PA territories to sell land to a non-Israeli Jew.
http://fr.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&... and http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/insideisrael/2010/September/PA-Death-Penalty-....
Sadly it is not only Hamas that is proud of those who intentionally murder Israeli civilians. The Palestine Authority celebrates such murderers too (http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/2950.htm).
Most Israelis, and proto-Israelis before independence, have always supported a two state solution. It is the Palestinian Arabs, who have always rejected it regarding all of Israel as an Islamic waqf. I can give loads of proof for this assertion, but this email would become huge. If you challenge me I will provide it.
Now to the Gaza War
In late 2008 the previous cease fire that had pertained expired. Israel wanted to renew it but Hamas refused (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/2999.htm). The town of Sderot had suffered hugely from years of rocket attacks and 80% of children in the town suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (http://www.haaretz.com/news/study-most-sderot-kids-exhibit-post-traumati...). The last thing that Israel wanted was a renewal of rocket attacks that the children od Sderot had had to endure before the cease-fire. The renewal of attacks was much more severe than it had been before the cease-fire, when they had been being hit by up to about 15 rockets in a day. On Christmas eve 2008 Hamas fired about 60 rockets at Israel, and it wasn’t the only day that a very large number were fired at Israel’s civilian population. No country would tolerate that. It is the first duty of a government to protect its citizens. Israel took every precaution that it could to minimise casualties, while putting to an end the rocket attacks on Israel. As Colonel Richard Kemp (not a Jew but somebody who knows Israelis well) pointed out (http://britishisraelcoalition.org/British_Israel_Coalition/News/Entries/...) “During its operation in Gaza, the Israeli Defence Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.”
Hamas eventually acknowledged that the casualty figures that Israel stated were correct, and that most of the casualties in the Gaza War were combatants (see Goldstone's Washington Post article http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/reconsidering-the-goldstone-repor... of 2nd April 2011).
The press reports and the Goldstone Report saying that Israel intentionally killed civilians was based on the uncorroborated word of Palestinians who had an axe to grind against Israel. In fact Goldstone asked both sides to investigate the allegations. Israel did and Hamas did not. As Goldstone said in the article, civilians were NOT intentionally targeted by Israel and they WERE intentionally targeted by Hamas.
As for the West Bank
Israel captured it in a defensive war in June 1967. In the Jordanian assault on West Jerusalem the Knesset and Israel government buildings came under artillery attack and the UN Middle East HQ in South Jerusalem was captured by the attacking Jordanian forces and the UN staff had to be rescued by the Israelis. The future of the West Bank will eventually be decided in peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. In the meanwhile Israel’s presence in the West Bank is entirely legal.
UN Resolutions unless made under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter (such as Resolution 1973 relating to Libya) do not affect international law. The just assert the will of the member states. International law is made by international treaty. No UN Resolution affecting Israel has been made under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter.
The 4th Geneva Convention is only legally applicable when a de facto (and de jure) international state is occupied. As both Israel and the area controlled by the Palestine Authority are part of what was the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, (the other part being Jordan), and as the Palestine Authority has never been an independent state, Israel is not bound by the 4th Geneva Convention, although in fact Israel acts as if it was.
The reason that friends of Israel consider your boycott to be racist is that there are many states in the world that are brutal to their people. Israel’s neighbours have been ruthlessly supressing their own people, yet they are not subject to a boycott. Tibet was occupied by China long before 1967 and the indigenous people there are ruthlessly supressed yet, according to UN figures (http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/KH18Ak01.html), the people of the West Bank and Gaza Strip enjoy a better life expectancy and per capita GNP than any other part of the region apart from a couple of rich little emirates, and still Israel gets boycotted but China, Syria, Burma and Zimbabwe do not. The only explanation is that Israel has a largely Jewish population and those other countries do not. Europe has for centuries had a large anti-Semitic element and that includes the UK.
The European working definition of anti-Semitism (http://www.european-forum-on-antisemitism.org/working-definition-of-anti...) includes “Applying double standards by requiring of it (the State of Israel) a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.” This seems to me to be exactly what you are doing with your boycott of Israel.
Bollan said in response, and Ynet quoted him but nothing that I wrote, "Hamas was elected and are freedom fighters alongside the Palestinians fighting an illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel.”
To which I replied "Hamas was elected to run parts of the government, but not those parts that are the responsibility of the president (and were previously held by Arafat) including the police and security apparatus. They took those powers in a bloody coup, which was followed by a fierce oppression. The Nazis were also elected to power in Germany in 1933. Coming to power by election is not sufficient to be a democracy. Human rights must be respected too. Hamas has ruled Gaza brutally, throwing opponents off buildings, torturing members of Fatah, suppressing the rights of gays and women. They are a Nazi party. Like the Nazis they continued their tyranny after their mandate ran out without calling new elections. They have no democratic mandate."