Press Release 1 March 2005

Scottish Friends of Palestine welcomes all efforts to bring about a just peace in Palestine. It welcomes the opportunity provided by today’s London conference to give Palestine its rightful place on the international agenda.

The conference and the subsequent reporting have given a platform to many fine sentiments
international support for the foundation stone of a Palestinian state security governance building up institutions bringing reform to the Palestinian territories economic and social development

In the absence of representatives from the occupier, the state of Israel, these fine sentiments will remain just that. In the absence of the occupier reforming its expansionist and brutal habits the London conference will remain simply one of many long consigned to history’s dustbin.

Scottish Friends of Palestine questions the Conference promoting such ideals as economic and social development when Israel’s wall of despair and annexation continues to be constructed – despite its flagrantly illegal status.

How can social development be stimulated when families are split asunder, doctors, hospitals and schools are on the different side of the wall from the population?

How can economic development be stimulated when your fertile land and water sources have been plundered? When your employment opportunity lies on the other side of a gate which is rarely opened?

Scottish Friends of Palestine will judge the result of this Conference, and others, by any tangible, discernible outcome.

It will look to villages such as Jayyous in the north of the West Bank which is the focus of the efforts of Falkirk’s Antonine Friendship Link. Two months ago, as preparations were taking place for the London conference, Jayyous’ annexed fertile land lost hundreds of olive trees to the bulldozer of the occupier. The land was razed, not to enhance anybody’s security, but in preparation for possible settlement construction.

Once the land is returned to villages like Jayyous, the trees replanted and the villagers given back the security of a livliehood then, and only then, can any degree of success be proclaimed.

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