Press Release 14 April 2004

Scottish Friends of Palestine expresses its concern, but no great surprise, at George W Bush’s announcement in support of Ariel Sharon’s intention to pursue unilateral action in the occupied Palestinian territories.

That, after a one day visit to the US by Ariel Sharon – the one individual responsible for undermining all attempts to implement the Quartet’s Road Map to peace which was accepted by the Palestinians – the US president should acquiesce to the demands of Sharon is nothing short of folly.

This action conveys to Sharon (and others of a similar mindset) that if he prevaricates long enough, if his actions in the occupied territories cause the situation to explode so as to make peace negotiations almost beyond reach, then -particularly in an election year for the US – he will get away with anything. The action also conveys to the other members of the Quartet – the EU, the UN and Russia – that their contribution to the Road Map was mere window dressing. It is a public insult to all those who have been working hard to achieve peace.

To reject international law as it applies to Israel/Palestine – by accepting Sharon’s condition of settlements remaining on occupied Palestinian land – is to light the fuse for continuing conflict in Israel/Palestine. To further ignore international law by repudiating the right of the Palestinian people to return to their land is to betray gross ignorance of the main cause of one of the world’s most protracted conflicts. Quite simply, peace will not be achieved.

Sharon is on record as saying that certain West Bank settlements will be claimed for the state of Israel for “eternity.” The good news is that both Bush and Sharon will certainly not be around for eternity. Peace in the Middle East and the wider world awaits the emergence of political leaders, in the US and Israel, with both vision and an understanding of what is right and what is wrong, with a political philosophy not dominated by military power and violence.

View all →