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An e-newsletter from the Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine.
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Palestine Post #10


Dear Members

Welcome to the LDFP February Newsletter, which includes the latest news from and about Palestine.

Regards,

Team LDFP

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Eye on Palestine


While ISIS continues to dominate the Middle Eastern news agenda, it has been another eventful month in Palestine.
 
This month, Rachel Corrie’s family has had their appeal to hold Israel liable for her death rejected by Israel’s Supreme Court. The US International Solidarity Movement activist was crushed to death in 2003 by an Israeli bulldozer while protesting against the IDF’s house demolitions in Rafah. The court upheld the previous decisions which did not find the military liable due to the ‘combat activities exception’ i.e. ‘that the Israeli military cannot be held responsible for damages in a war zone’. Read more on the family’s struggle here.
 
Meanwhile in the USA, a jury has ordered the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and the Palestinian Authorities to pay more than $218 million to the families of victims of various terrorists attacks carried out by al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and Hamas. The families sued under the Anti-Terrorism Act which allows US citizens to sue for damages suffered by terrorist attacks.
 
Through recent leaked spy cables, it has come to light that the CIA has attempted to make contact with Hamas despite the official ban on contact with the organisation, which is designated a terrorist organisation by the US. Further revelations from the spy cables reveal that Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been exaggerating Iran’s nuclear weapon capability and in fact has contradicted his own intelligence agency’s information. Mossad says in the leaked cables that Iran is ‘not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons’ but despite this in 2012 Netanyahu claimed at the UN that Iran was just one year away from creating a nuclear weapon.
 
The former head of Mossad has urged Israeli voters to oust Netanyahu in the upcoming Israeli elections, saying that the current prime minister’s policies were “destructive to the future and security of Israel”. Read more here.
 
While Israel prepares for elections, the suffering in the Gaza Strip continues, most recently with flooding caused by heavy rainfall in the region. 80 families were forced to evacuate their homes. Gazan officials blamed Israel for the flooding, saying they opened dams which released the water into Gaza. Israel rejected the allegations.
 
In this piece from the Guardian, UNWRA director of advocacy Chris Gunness writes of the consequences of the freezing winter in Gaza compounded by the fact that millions of dollars of funds pledged by international donors to held re-build Gaza have not materialised. Following this, UNWRA was forced to suspend its rebuilding programme. Gunness writes of the children who have frozen to death while living in make-shift homes during the harsh winter. Read this moving piece here.

Meanwhile, graffiti artist Banksy has revealed three new works in the Gaza Strip, including one in which an Israeli watch tower is made out to look like a children’s fairground ride. You can see them here.
 

Parliamentary News


Continuing with the topic above, Baroness Jenny Tonge has asked questions in the House of Lords regarding the deaths of children in Gaza due to hypothermia; and also a question on what discussions the British government has had with Israel regarding recent settler attacks on Palestinians. Read the questions and replies here and here.
 
Last week there was a Parliamentary debate in Westminster Hall on the topic of Gaza. Liberal Democrat MP David Ward said: “The international community would allow no other country to treat anybody the way Israel treats the Palestinians. Such a country would be ostracised and treated as a pariah state; at the very least—as in the case of Myanmar, Russia and South Africa—we would impose sanctions. I have an online petition with more than 80,000 names calling on the Government to be an agent of change and to consider sanctions as part of bringing about a peaceful resolution to the conflict.”
You can read the whole debate here.
 
Also, with the general election now only weeks away, don’t forget to find out your local candidates's views on Palestine. You can find a list of candidates for your constituency and a helpful template letter on the Palestine Solidarity Campaign website- click here for more info.
 
Thank you for your support.

Team LDFP
LDFP exists to fight for the rights of the Palestinian people through the medium of the Liberal Democrat Party. For a full articulation of our position, see here
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