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Hope for Palestine

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Open letter to our representatives from and the undersigned. This is being sent to the MPs and MEPs who represent Camden. (Please do send it on to others and let us know of their replies.)

25th July 2017

The last few days have seen bloodshed all over the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which follow pressure by the Israeli authorities on the old city of Jerusalem and Al Aqsa Mosque. Camden’s partner town, Abu Dis, lost three lives in a few days. Mohammed Mahmoud Lafee was shot in the back by an Israeli soldier on Friday 21st July.  On Saturday 22nd July, the town was again convulsed with grief and another family devastated when his friend Yousef, a local footballer, was also killed in clashes relating to the killing of Mohammed. Since then, Yousef’s mother has died of a heart attack. And a similar pressure is happening on Jerusalem and other parts of Palestine.

The picture is of Mohammed at the end of his school earlier this summer. This video shows a part of Mohammed's funeral in Abu Dis last week.

Our friends in Palestine are very aware that they have no voice in changing the situation. They do not have a vote for the government that controls them. They cannot make the things happen that we would take for granted. Who will find the soldier who shot Mohammed in the back, for example?  Our friends are concerned that he is still in the same military camp inside the town – what will stop him killing again? Over 300 young Palestinians lost inside the Occupied Territories just since October 2015: shot with impunity by Israeli soldiers and settlers.  This cannot go on. What we are hearing from friends in Abu Dis is agony ..."All our kids are under threat – None of them are safe – This is going on generation after generation. “

Our government utters meaningless nothings in relation to the racism, injustice and cruelty in Palestine, but the situation is getting worse and worse.  A hundred years ago this year, Britain’s government gave a crucial promise to Zionists – the Balfour Declaration – and then went on, as they had promised in that letter, to support the building of Israel on Palestinian land, then (less than 20 years after that) to do nothing effective when Israel went on to take over the rest of Palestine, establishing the brutal military occupation. All Palestinians remember that Declaration and blame us for it.

Hope is the most important thing - hope for a solution, hope for an improvement, hope that the killing will stop, hope above all that the kids are safe and will be able to raise the next generation in peace. This letter is calling for Britain to take up its responsibilities in relation to Palestine and give families in Palestine that hope.

Written on the Balfour Declaration too was a promise that nothing would be done to harm the people from that land. That part of the promise clearly wasn’t met, and it is time to put it into practice at last. Palestinians are calling for the removal of Israeli settlements from the West Bank, the removal of walls and checkpoints and the military rule that has governed their lives for over fifty years now, for international law and their human rights to be respected.

These are their rights and Britain has a responsibility.  We would like to ask your government, your party and you yourself to take firm action in that direction. 

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