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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

A letter to copy and send, to help Gaza

The Rt. Hon. William Hague MP
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London SW1A

Tuesday 1 June 2010

Dear Foreign Secretary,

Further to my letter to you sent last week, I am now writing in the wake of the storming of the Gaza aid convoy by Israeli commandoes in international waters yesterday and amid news of the deaths of nineteen humanitarian activists and many others injured. As you will no doubt be aware, British Muslims and other Britons are among those that joined the international flotilla carrying aid to the besieged population of Gaza and their status is of grave concern to us.

It goes without saying that the actions of the Israeli government are to be deplored in the strongest terms possible. There can be no excuses advanced for the murder of humanitarian activists in this manner and we urge you to place your weight behind the UN Secretary-Generals call for a full, independent and immediate inquiry into this tragedy.

We have in recent months witnessed a serious escalation in Israels patent disregard for international law and the goodwill of her friends and allies. We have seen it in her wilful abuse of the integrity of British passports in the assassination of the Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Mahbouh in Dubai earlier this year. And we have observed the same obstinacy in her pressing forth with illegal settlements in East Jerusalem, despite international condemnation of her actions.

We have heard it said too often that Israel is defending herself against those that would delegitimise her. It is time for Israelis to accept that the only actor guilty of delegitimising her status is the Israeli government itself and that such conduct as we have witnessed in the dawn of 31 May by a state recently accepted as a future member of the OECD is to be censured in the most severe terms. We would urge a reconsideration of the progress of Israels inclusion in the family of OECD countries in light of recent events.

Foreign Secretary, we commend your statement on calling for an end to the blockade of the Gaza strip and entreat you to pursue this course of action urgently with our European partners and the US. It has been the tacit support given by the EU and the US for the blockade following Hamas election victory in 2007 that has strengthened Israeli obstinacy in maintaining it. It is pious nonsense to criticise the actions of the aid activists in seeking to deliver essential humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza despite Israeli warnings when the aid is an important and significant signal of solidarity with the Gazans in their time of despair and desperate need. Had the UK, the governments of the EU, and the US acted more decisively before and since the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip in December 2008 January 2009, the convoy would not have been necessary or threatened in this way.

We urge you to consider the responses of our fellow European partners in recalling their Ambassadors from Israel. It is necessary that we make clear in our statements and responses to these actions that the flouting of international law in the manner we have witnessed is unacceptable and will not go unchallenged.

We would not stand idle and allow other states in the Middle East to act in such a manner and it is imperative that we demonstrate parity in our response by taking a stern course of action against Israel. This event demands a full inquiry into the storming of the aid convoy, the recalling of our Ambassador from Israel and the immediate lifting of the blockade on Gaza.

We hope you will pursue these matters with the urgency they deserve and in consideration of the many people, in the UK and abroad, who stand shocked and angered at the killing of humanitarian activists in international waters by a state that has too readily been allowed to flout international law with impunity. Enough is enough.

I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari MBE
Secretary General
The Muslim Council of Britain

MCB Letter to Secretary of State in pdf format

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