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Sunday, March 26, 2017
Urgent appeal for the Holy Land
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¬†Sue Plater, from the Amos Trust, a Christian charity which supports Christian Palestinians in the Holy Land sends this urgent letter. Dear all, I am just back from a short trip to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Garth and Rachel are still there, with an Amos group, visiting the people who mean so much to us - Palestinians and Israelis standing firm for justice and peace - in the land that is so familiar to any of us who read the Bible. As always, we received a wonderful welcome and tremendous hospitality. It was lovely to see people. But the situation is really terrible. The lack of salaries for public sector workers (doctors, nurses, teachers, police etc) caused by the withdrawal of aid by the EU and US following the election of Hamas, and the withholding of taxes by the Israelis, is putting the economy into crisis. We heard of a pharmacy whose business had dropped by 30-40% - not because less people need drugs, but because they have just stopped having the drugs they need because they cannot afford them. We heard of people going hungry, with a danger of malnutrition. We saw for ourselves the horrendous checkpoint at Bethlehem, and the consequent emptiness of the city of tourists - although actually it is not difficult for tourists to go through. It just looks and feels daunting and off putting. It is the Palestinians who of course suffer at the checkpoint - queueing at the peak time when they need to get to work, appointments etc. and having to argue their case even though their permits are in order. On the Jerusalem side the large and hideous wall says 'Peace be upon you'. It seems pretty unlikely that peace will follow the increasing imposition of an apartheid system which holds out no hope for a people, whose crime was to be born in a land coveted by others. Democracy is going to become a joke word in the Middle East when it just becomes a tool of occupying forces to tighten a stranglehold created by military action, as is the case in Palestine and in Iraq. This is terrible for them, and not good for us either as those touting democracy around the world as a political system that will give freedom and fairness. Please consider the petition below. We have to get the message out that our Government has responsibility in this situation, and we have to change the policy of the EU, the USA and Israel. Sue Plater The Palestine Solidarity Campaign has launched a petition to Tony Blair to ask for immediate action to end the humanitarian crisis that is being forced upon the Palestinians. Please sign it ( and forward this email to others. Stop starving the Palestinians! To the Prime Minister, 10 Downing Street: We note that the decision of the European Union and the United States to withhold funding to the Palestinian Authority together with the Israeli government's regular closure of trade routes in and out of Gaza gravely threatens the health and well-being of the Palestinian people. Poverty and malnutrition have increased, and Palestinians have died as a result of a blockade on medical supplies. We note that this decision was taken following the elections in Palestine which were declared free and fair by international observers. The Palestinian people are being punished for exercising their democratic right to choose their own representatives. We oppose this act of collective punishment against the already impoverished Palestinian people in contravention of international human rights conventions. We call upon the government to : ∑ Demand the immediate reinstatement of all funding, as well as for the return of the withheld revenues collected by the Israeli government which belong to the Palestinian people. ∑ Recognise Palestinian democracy. ∑ Ensure Israel abides by international law, including a complete withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem.
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