Systematic abuse of Palestinians ‘must not go unchecked’

Palestine campaigners called today for people in Britain to press the government to hold Israel to account.

Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) chairman Hugh Lanning told a conference on Saturday that activists must urge the government to end Israel’s ability to breach international law with “impunity.”

“The policy of governments including our own not to talk to the legitimate representatives of Palestinians is wrong and short sighted,” he said.

Mr Lanning, also the deputy general secretary of Civil Service union PCS, added that the issues affecting the besieged Gaza Strip and the wider Palestinian struggle can’t be separated.

“Palestinians living in Gaza consistently send a clear message that their struggle is not just about the situation of the 1.6 million Palestinians besieged in Gaza but is an integral part of the struggle of all Palestinians for freedom, justice, equality and self-determination.

“And this must include the right of return.”

Former Labour MP Phyllis Starkey, who in 2009 pressed for products from Israeli settlements to be labelled as such, said that the government must be forced to consider Palestinian security in the same way they consider Israeli’s.

Unison Ireland regional secretary Patricia McKeown, who led an Irish Congress of Trade Unions delegation to Gaza, said she “couldn’t believe the extent of denial of human rights in Gaza.

“We thought we knew about the denial of human rights in Northern Ireland. Compared to Gaza we didn’t,” she said.

PSC student officer Azeem Sayani, who organises weekly Skype conversations between students in London and Gaza, told the conference that students there have to study by candlelight as there is only six hours of power a day.

And Palestine Centre for Human Rights founder Raji Sourani warned: “There is no hope for peace with this Israeli government.

“There is only one free person in the West Bank – the settler, the occupier the one with gun.”

(Source / 15.04.2013)

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