Statement from Hugh Lanning, PSC Chair
Over the last seven days, at least 900 Palestinians have been injured; attacks over the last week have left 11 Palestinians and Israelis dead.
Protests are widespread, from occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank to Gaza – where at the time of writing a further six Palestinians have just been shot dead at a protest. Palestinian citizens of Israel are also on the streets – yesterday Israeli police used stun grenades to attack a rally in Nazareth.
If you were following the mainstream media over the last few days, you would have struggled to find any serious coverage of the current protests and the scale of injuries and death. What coverage there is ignores the root causes of unrest – the violence of Israeli occupation and colonisation.
In addition to the violent acts carried out daily by the Israeli army and police, Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem live in fear of settler violence, which has increased by 48% this year. The arson attack by settler extremists on the Dawabshe family home in July was sadly just one of numerous attacks by Israeli settlers – an attack which killed 18 month old Ali, his parents and seriously injured his brother. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz (1) reported that Israeli authorities know who is responsible, but have so far failed to start legal proceedings to protect the identity of their sources. From 1-7 October, 133 incidents of settler violence were reported. Armed, extremist settlers are rampaging through the streets of Jerusalem chanting ‘death to Arabs’. Palestinians are at the mercy of settler extremists, and have no protection from settler attacks. All exacerbated by Israeli provocations in the Old City and the Al Aqsa mosque – which have been a prime trigger for recent events.
Today, both Palestinians and Israelis are paying the price of the failure of the international community to take action. For decades, the international community has failed to implement international law and respect Palestinian human rights. Israel’s illegal and brutal occupation and its vast settlement enterprise, which has expanded even further under Netanyahu, is making life unliveable for Palestinians. Israel’s racism and apartheid policies are destroying the lives of Palestinians whether they live inside Israel or in the occupied Palestinian territories.
It is never acceptable that human rights, security, justice and freedom are only seen as legitimate for Israelis and not the Palestinians. The British Government should call – in accordance with international law – for the protection for Palestinians under occupation.
To end the violence, death and destruction, our government and the rest of the international community must immediately act to end Israel’s occupation, settlements and colonialisation.