April 27, 2018
Re-published from jamiesternweiner.wordpress.com
The position of Anneliese Dodds MP (Labour – Oxford East) on the situation in Gaza is wholly inadequate.
OXFORD CONSTITUENTS: Please email Anneliese to ask her to sign the Early Day Motion on Gaza: anneliesedoddsmp[at]gmail[dot]com
My initial email to Dodds is followed by her reply and my second response.
Dear Anneliese Dodds,
I am a Labour Party member as well as an Oxford East constituent. I have dual British-Israeli citizenship.
I am writing to request that you add your name to Richard Burden MP’s Early Day Motion on Gaza.
For several weeks, thousands of Palestinians have engaged in mass — and overwhelmingly nonviolent — protests in Gaza.
Israel has responded with heavy repression: as of 20 April 2018, 32 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli forces in the course of the demonstrations, including four children, while more than 4,900 Palestinians had been injured.
Medecins Sans Frontieres doctors on the ground in Gaza reported ‘receiving patients with devastating injuries of an unusual severity . . . the injuries include an extremely level of destruction to bones and soft tissue, and large exit wounds that can be the size of a fist’.
Not a single Israeli casualty has been reported.
The mass nonviolent demonstrations would stop if the illegal and immoral siege of Gaza were lifted.
The siege has brought Gaza to the brink of collapse. Indeed ,the UN has warned that Gaza might become ‘unliveable’ by 2020.
Every major international human rights organisation has condemned Israel’s blockade of Gaza as ‘collective punishment’ (ICRC) imposed ‘in flagrant violation of international law’ (Amnesty International).
An official UN inquiry authored by an American judge called for the siege to be lifted ‘immediately and unconditionally’ while the European Parliament this week overwhelmingly demanded ‘an immediate and unconditional end of the blockade and closure of the Gaza Strip’.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has condemned Israel’s firing of ‘live ammunition into crowds of unarmed civilians’ as ‘illegal and inhumane’, called for ‘an independent international inquiry’ and urged a ‘review’ of arms sales to Israel.
Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders has condemned the ‘killing of Palestinian demonstrators by Israeli forces’ and urged an end to the ‘inhumane blockade of Gaza’.
Palestinians are always being urged to forsake armed struggle for nonviolent resistance. Today, in Gaza, they have done so — and they are being mown down.
The very least we can do is to call for an independent investigation and exert pressure on Israel to abide by International Humanitarian Law.
Please sign the Early Day Motion.
 Gaza Ministry of Health figures, cited by the United Nations, https://reliefweb.int/report/occupied-palestinian-territory/ocha-flash-upda te-four-palestinians-killed-and-hundreds
 Medecins Sans Frontieres (19 April 2018), http://www.msf.org/en/article/palestine-msf-teams-gaza-observe-unusually-se vere-and-devastating-gunshot-injuries
 UN Country Team in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, ‘Gaza Ten Years Later’ (July 2017), p. 3, https://unsco.unmissions.org/sites/default/files/gaza_10_years_later_-_11_j uly_2017.pdf
 International Committee of the Red Cross, ‘Gaza Closure: Not Another Year!’ (14 June 2010), https://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/update/palestine-update-140610 .htm; Amnesty International, ‘Suffocating Gaza – the Israeli blockade’s effects on Palestinians’ (1 June 2010), https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2010/06/suffocating-gaza-israeli-blo ckades-effects-palestinians/
 UN Human Rights Council, ‘Inquiry into the 2014 Gaza Conflict’ (2015), para. 681(d); http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-%2f%2fEP%2f%2fTEXT% 2bMOTION%2bP8-RC-2018-0191%2b0%2bDOC%2bXML%2bV0%2f%2fEN&language=EN
 https://www.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10156349671608872&id=3302 50343871
 http://thehill.com/policy/international/381125-sanders-condemns-killing-of- palestinian-protesters; https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/bernie-sanders-slams-netanyahu-says-israel- overreacted-in-gaza-1.6009159
Thank you for contacting me about the situation in Gaza.
I am deeply concerned at the situation in Gaza and the terrible suffering that many Palestinian people are experiencing. It is clear that the blockade of Gaza undermines basic human rights and economic prospects, as well as the availability of essential services. I agree that these restrictions should be lifted and I hope the Government will urge the Israeli authorities to go much further on easing them. In doing so, the Government should stress to the Israeli authorities the damage that these restrictions are doing to the living standards of ordinary Palestinians in Gaza.
I deplore the recent violence that we have seen take place on the Gaza-Israel border. The terrible events we have seen around recent protests serve as yet another reminder of the need to work towards the two-state solution we all want to see: a viable state of Palestine living peacefully alongside a secure Israel and an end to the senseless cycle of violence.
On arms exports, I believe states have the right to acquire the means to defend themselves and I support the considerable contribution that a responsible, world-leading defence and security industry makes to our economy. However, strong export controls have a vital role to play in sustaining a legitimate trade in arms and the Government has a responsibility to ensure that arms are only sold for legitimate defensive purposes.
As the Middle East Quartet has warned, the denial of Palestinian development undermines eventual agreement on a two-state solution. I continue to believe that a negotiated two-state solution – one that recognises the importance of security and stability, and guarantees a viable future for both Palestinians and Israelis – is ultimately the only way the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the wider Occupied Palestinian Territories will be fully resolved. I hope the Government will back initiatives aimed at keeping the two-state solution alive and I will continue to press for an immediate return to meaningful negotiations.
Thank you once again for contacting me on this issue.
Anneliese Dodds MP
I am a Labour Party member who has dual British-Israeli nationality.
I am deeply disappointed, even disgusted, by your response.
Amnesty International has condemned Israel’s ‘murderous assault‘ against Palestinians ‘who pose no imminent threat‘.
Amnesty reports that Israel is using weapons ‘designed to cause maximum harm to Palestinian protestors‘.
Amnesty concludes that Israeli forces are prima facie guilty of ‘deliberate attempts to kill and maim‘ amounting in some cases to a ‘war crime‘.
Amnesty’s conclusion is powerful and merits morally serious reflection:
The time for symbolic statements of condemnation is now over. The international community must act concretely and stop the delivery of arms and military equipment to Israel. A failure to do so will continue to fuel serious human rights abuses against thousands of men, women and children suffering the consequences of life under Israel’s cruel blockade of Gaza.
As the people of Gaza risk life and limb in nonviolent protest, you refuse to clearly condemn Israel’s deployment of high-velocity ammunition against unarmed protestors, including children.
As the people of Gaza risk life and limb in nonviolent protest, you refuse to add your name to an EDM which simply calls for ‘an independent and transparent investigation’ into breaches of international law.
As the people of Gaza risk life and limb in nonviolent protest, you refuse to join Amnesty International in calling for an arms embargo, but talk instead about the role of arms exports in the British economy.
Even as Amnesty International warns that ‘symbolic statements of condemnation‘ without accompanying action merely ‘fuel serious human rights abuses‘, what you offer barely even rises to the level of symbolic condemnation.
‘Fuelling serious human rights abuses’ — is this really why you got into politics? Is this what brought you into the Labour tradition? I don’t believe it.
I strongly reiterate my initial request.
Please sign the EDM motion calling for an independent investigation into Israel’s killings and join the call for an arms embargo on Israel pending the result of that investigation.