Monday, 21 July 2008

Ask Gordon Brown why he fails to condemn the Israeli occupation and ignores the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) on its 60th anniversary

British Prime Minister Brown’s speech to the Knesset today was a declaration of support for the Zionist project of dispossession and subjugation and a betrayal of the Palestinian people’s legitimate hopes for recognition of their human and national rights. The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) is dismayed that he failed to mention the ethnic cleansing wreaked on the Palestinians, when 13,000 Palestinians were killed and 750,000 Palestinians forced from their homes, it what is known as the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) to create the state of Israel.

Mr Brown spent two thirds of his address to the Knesset laying out his emotional, historical and political commitment to Israel, referring to two-thousand-year old-alleged rights while ignoring the ongoing crimes of the state of Israel; the illegal Wall; the land grabs; the killing and injuring; the 11 thousand political prisoners. While mentioning terrorist attacks against Israelis, he failed to mention the daily terror inflicted on Palestinians by the military and settlers – in recent weeks three incidents of brutality against Palestinian civilians would have been ignored by Israel, if they have not been captured on video and broadcast round the world. While praising the Israeli state for its commitment to the education of its citizens, he failed to condemn it for suppressing the Palestinian right to education.

Betty Hunter, PSC General Secretary, said:
Mr Brown, in his eulogising that: "nothing - no prison cell, no forced migration, no violence, no massacres ... could ever break the spirit of a people yearning to be free", should understand that this equally applies to the Palestinian people. He conveniently forgot that his description of the suffering of the Jewish people echoes the current oppression by Israel of the Palestinian people. Mr Brown is out of step with the majority of the British people, who while having a proud tradition of fighting anti-semitism, are no longer prepared to allow the Israeli government to commit its acts of subjugation and oppression with impunity.
If the prime minister believes that a brief urging for Israel to agree to international law, freeze settlements, recognise a two-state solution based on 1967 borders with Jerusalem the capital for both, and a just and agreed settlement for refugees will have any effect on Israel then he is simply continuing to abrogate Britain’s responsibility. During more than 40 years of military occupation Israel has repeatedly reneged on these same points while the world has done nothing.

The Palestinian people deserve more than a cursory visit to the Church of the Nativity and the promise of £30 million. Without political support for a just solution, the Palestinians will be dependent on such international aid for decades to come.

To view the full speech, click here.

Please write to Gordon Brown with the following points, and also write to your local media:

1. How long did he spend in the West Bank?

2. Why does he fail to mention the Palestinian Nakba?

3. Why does he ignore all aspects of occupation in the speech, including the continued building of the wall and illegal settlements?

4. Why does he fail to mention Israeli nuclear weapons?

5. Money is not enough, a political solution needed.

6. The prime minister’s website has only a passing reference to the £30 million deal and visit to Church of the Nativity – does this reflect the partisan way in which he is engaged in the issue of Palestine/Israel?


The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) aims to raise public awareness about the occupation of Palestine and the struggle of the Palestinian people. PSC seek to bring pressure on both the British and Israeli government to bring their policies in line with international law. PSC is an independent, non-governmental and non-party political organisation with members from communities across the UK. Join PSC today!

Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Tel: 020 7700 6192
Fax: 020 7609 7779

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