August 29, 2008

Challenging Prosor, the new Barbara Amiel

Two letters today in the Guardian challenging the take of Israel's man in London, Ron Prosor on the blockade breaking boats to Gaza.
We do not idealise Palestinian society, fractured and divided as it is, though this is in good measure the result of sustained Israeli policy over many decades of occupation (Showboating over Gaza, August 28). Nor do we recall Israel extending a great hand of friendship to the Palestinians under President Arafat when that society wasn't fractured. Rather, he was routinely labelled a "terrorist". Now, suddenly, we all have to "steer the Palestinians through the choppy waters to statehood". The fact is that about half the West Bank is under the authority of Jewish settlements and the Israeli military, and that the Israeli government shows no signs of yielding up this occupied territory to the new Palestinian state Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor purports to want.

You do not have to be a fan of Hamas - we definitely are not - to recognise that they prosper as the result of the criminal and illegal policy of collective punishment that Israel insists on inflicting on the people of Gaza. Gaza is still occupied, still a prison, as evidenced by Israel's land, air and sea blockade. The two boats of protesters that broke the Israeli blockade last week aimed specifically to draw attention to this. They have now set a precedent. May they be followed by hundreds of others bearing food, medicines and other desperately needed goods to the people of Gaza.
Richard Kuper
Jews for Justice for Palestinians

As the Israelis are now apparently behaving so reasonably about Palestinian rights in Gaza, I presume the Israeli government will offer no hindrance to the dozen Palestinian students currently trying to reach Cyprus in a boat, so that they can resume their studies at foreign universities? If they are stopped by the Israelis it will demonstrate that Prosor's article was really a piece of "showboating", in trying to justify their dreadful treatment of innocent civilians of Gaza through collective punishment.
Mike Gwilliam
Norton-on-Derwent, North Yorkshire

Well put, both of you.

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