Frequently Asked Questions about Edinburgh Action for Palestine

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1. Why are you supporting the Palestinians?

Because Israel denies them their human rights by subjecting them to exile, apartheid and occupation. They need and deserve the support of all right-minded people. The first President of Israel, Chaim Weizmann said in 1948 that “History will judge us by the way we treat the Arabs”. The world is judging.

2. Are you antisemitic?

No – we strongly oppose racism in all forms, including antisemitism.  We are against Binyamin Netanyahu and the Israeli government and their treatment of Palestinians, a view shared by many Jewish people worldwide.

3. Surely Israel is entitled to its own country?

Not at the expense of the indigenous population. Israel was created in 1948 by throwing 750,000 Palestinians off  their own land and killing 13,000. Over 400 Palestinian villages were razed to the ground. Descendants of these refugees still live today in camps all over the Middle East. Israel continues to ignore UN Resolution 194 to allow the refugees to return to their homeland.

4. Are all Palestinians terrorists?

Absolutely not.  They are a people just like you and me, taking care of their families, worrying about the future and hoping against hope that, one day, they can be living in their own state again.  The state of Palestine. As Nelson Mandela said in 1990 “If one has to refer to any of the parties as a terrorist state, one might refer to the Israeli government, because they are the people who are slaughtering defenceless and innocent Arabs in the occupied [Palestinian] territories, and we don’t regard that as acceptable“.

5. Are you supporting Hamas?

We do not support any Palestinian party but it must be pointed out that Hamas became the government of Gaza after they won the democratic elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council in 2006.  We believe in Palestinians right to self-determination.

6. Don’t Arabs living in Israel have equal rights with the Israelis?

No.  They live very much as second-class citizens in what is, effectively, an apartheid state much worse than South Africa with many laws discriminating against non-Jews. Nelson Mandela: “When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.”

7. Why do you call the West Bank “occupied”?

Because the Jordanian West Bank, along with Gaza and East Jerusalem, was invaded and occupied by Israel in the so-called “Six Day War” with Egypt  in 1967.  UN Resolution 242 calls for Israel to withdraw from these “territories”.  It refuses to do so, meaning that all of historical Palestine is under Israeli control.

8. Why are the Jewish settlers not entitled to build homes in the West Bank?

As an Occupied Palestinian Territory, building homes for Israelis is in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.  Building is still going on to this day with more than 500,000 “settlers” now living in the West Bank behind the infamous wall which, by its very nature, divides many Palestinians from their fields, homes and livelihoods. Farmers are routinely harassed – sometimes killed – by the illegal “settlers”, who are protected by the Israeli army. This army cannot arrest the “settlers”, only Palestinians. The police force is supposed to oversee and arrest these “settlers”.

9. Why do you use “siege” rather than “conflict” when referring to the situation in Gaza? 

Because this is exactly what it is.  This small piece of land (roughly 7km by 25km), home to some 1.5 million Gazans, is effectively sealed off from the rest of the world.  Israel controls all access with military-style checkpoints and barriers.  There is no port, no airport and no transportation that is not controlled by Israel, including fishing. Gunboats patrol the sea off Gaza – any fishing boat which breaches the Israeli defined limit of 3 nautical miles from shore risks being shot at.  During the summer of 2014, 4 little boys aged 9,10 and 11 (all under 4ft tall) were shot dead on the beach “by mistake”.  Not one member of the Israeli armed forces has been called to account for this atrocity.

10. Why should the public boycott all economic, cultural and sporting events as well as Israeli goods produced in Israel?

Because this non-violent way of protesting was called for by the Palestinians and is alarming the Israeli government.  Desmond Tutu has said that the Palestinian situation is even worse than that of South Africa where boycott of produce and particularly sporting events were very effective.

11. Will boycotts not also affect the Palestinians who work in the West Bank or Israel?

This is a risk which the Palestinians are prepared to take in order to send the message to Israel that what they are doing is immoral, unjust and criminal.

12. How can we find out more about the situation in both Gaza and the West Bank?

We would urge you to take a little time to view the links below. They will give you more information than we can hope to do with leaflets.

13. Is it true that the arms industry in Scotland supplies Israel with parts for weapons used against the Palestinians in the recent wars in Gaza?

This is absolutely true. One firm in particular, Raytheon in Glenrothes, supplies parts for munitions used against the innocent civilians of Gaza in the war of 2014 when more than 2,200 Palestinians were killed, 535 of them children, and massively damaged the infrastructure of this tiny region. To date, there has been no re-building. This “war” killed 1 Israeli child, 6 civilians and 61 soldiers and destroyed one house. This was not, in anyone’s book, proportionate.

14. Should we check our banks to establish whether or not they have ethical policies re the arms trade?

Yes.  Barclays, for example, still holds significant shares in Raytheon (see above) but many other banks are also guilty of involvement in the arms trade.  We suggest you look at the website: “Move Your Money.com”  for an up- to- date list of ethical banks/building societies.

15. What about all these stabbings in the West Bank?

We don’t condone these.  However it should be noted that these are by individuals, mainly young people and are not part of an organised campaign.  These, predominantly teenage, attackers see no hope for the future and are driven by desperation.  The Israeli soldiers employ a “shoot to kill” policy as ordered by their government even though many of these so-called “attacks” do not result in any injury to a soldier. No attempt is made to disable an attacker even when these are young women or boys of 12 or 13. Afterwards, the homes of the attackers are destroyed by the army. This is known as “collective punishment” and is illegal under International Law.

LINKS:

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