Press Release 26 June 2002

Scottish Friends of Palestine, while welcoming the long overdue acknowledgement of the need for a sovereign Palestinian state, expresses its concern over the recent statement from President Bush.

We note, with concern, the statement’s anti-democratic position with regard to the rights of the Palestinian people, its poverty of understanding and analysis of events in occupied Palestine. We note, with concern, the complete absence of any reference to the recent and current depredations of Israel’s occupation forces in the occupied Palestinian territories – all under the control of the indictable war criminal, Ariel Sharon.

President Bush’s demand for an overhaul of the Palestinian Authority’s democratic system and government has long been a demand of the Palestinians under occupation. Since the signing of the Oslo accords in 1993, the rule of President Yasser Arafat, following his election to power, the proliferation of his security agencies were all acceptable to the US and the Israeli governments. It resulted in Palestinian cooperation with the CIA and Israeli security agencies, together with the ever expanding settlement and apartheid road building programme in the occupied Palestinian territories. We now find Yasser Arafat surplus to the requirements of the US and Israel with any successor being required to be even more submissive and more willing to play to the tune of the US and the tempo of Israel.

Scottish Friends of Palestine reject any attempt by President Bush to establish a Palestinian Quisling government.

The lack of even-handedness is very much apparent in President Bush’s statement. There is no expressed understanding of the effect of miles of razor wire, walls, ditches and earth ramparts surrounding poverty enforced Palestinian communities where the per capita income is now estimated at $2 per day. There is no expressed understanding of the effect of Sharon’s campaign of terror against the Palestinian people under occupation, the deliberate destruction of Palestinian property (including house demolitions in Jerusalem), the casual killing, always in “error” with an “investigation” promised, of men, women and children. There is no hint of criticism of the many and continuing extra-judicial killings by the Middle East’s much vaunted democracy.

Scottish Friends of Palestine argues that as long as there is no understanding of the rights of the Palestinian people, including those refugees in the diaspora, there will be no prospect of a real, lasting peace.

Scottish Friends of Palestine, in welcoming the acknowledgement of the need for a Palestinian state, urges the international community to ensure that the conditions necessary for democracy to thrive are created. The settlers and settlements must go. The miles of razor wire,the wall and ditches, the tanks, bulldozers and helicopter gunships must go. The checkpoints must go.

For an election to take place there must be free movement of election candidates and literature. Public meetings must take place. Voters must be allowed to register and vote free from death or injury at the hands of the racist, arrogant conscript or settler.

In brief, the occupation must go. In the absence of this, the democratic process will be a travesty.

With the heart of the conflict in the Palestine/Israel being territory, not terror, Scottish Friends of Palestine is not persuaded that the US, alone, will help achieve the conditions leading to an independent, sovereign Palestinian state. We urge the equal involvement of the European Union, Russia and the United Nations, with international law the foundation of international efforts.

As a first step to we urge the establishment of an international observer/monitor force in the occupied Palestinian territories.

View all →