the Disillusioned kid
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Wednesday, April 21, 2004

I've written a letter to my MP about the Israeli land grab which I append below. Of course it's unlikely to have any effect, but as with any form of political action. Simply doing nothing guarantees that nothing will change.

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Tuesday 20 April 2004

Dear Mr Simon Burns,

I am writing to express my concerns about recent developments with regard to the Israel-Palestinian peace process and more specifically the British response.

You are doubtless aware of the Sharon government's recently announced plan to unilaterally withdraw from the Gaza Strip parts of the West Bank. When expressed in terms of a withdrawal this seems an entirely reasonable, indeed positive development. Nonetheless the decision to retain control over various settlements is a much more dubious development.

This 'withdrawal' is more accurately described as a land grab and constitutes an attempt to legitimise the conquest of the territories by Israel in 1967. It also very clearly runs contrary to UN Resolution 242 passed in November 1967 which calls for the '[w]ithdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.'

During the buildup to the invasion of Iraq, Tony Blair made much of the importance of a just settlement to the conflict. It is obvious that this unilateral Israeli plan will not be accepted by the Palestinian people and may in fact mark the end of the peace process. Unless the UK makes clear its opposition to Israel's plans and takes steps to force Israel back to genuine negotiations the Arab world is likely to view British actions over the last year in this regard as little more than political opportunism.

It has been clear for sometime that the basis of a just, equitable, effective solution to the conflict lies in the withdrawal of Israeli forces from all the occupied territories and the establishment of a viable Palestinian state in their place. Any limited redrawing of the 'green line' must be negotiated and agreed by both sides. Allowing Israel to hold on to any part of the territories as a concession to the 'realities on the ground' is simply a reversion to the idea that might equals right, a situation which does not portend well for the future.

I urge you to call for British condemnation of the Israeli decision and to encourage moves towards a genuine, effective, just settlement acceptable to both sides.
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