Press Release 16 December 2006

As Tony Blair tours the Middle East in search of “moderate Muslim opinion” Scottish Friends of Palestine urges Mr Blair to consider a number of crucial aspects of his task.

We would ask him to question his own understanding of the situation in Israel-Palestine and the wider Palestinian diaspora. To question his status as a neutral participant.

The media is encouraged to support him in this process. With regard to Mr Blair’s neutrality

  • Given Mr Blair’s appointment of Lord Levy as his Middle East envoy and given that Lord Levy’s children have exercised their Zionist inspired “right of return” to Israel-Palestine, does this indicate Mr Blair’s total ignorance or total contempt of the concerns and rights of the Palestinian people?
  • Does Mr Blair acknowledge the legal and individually held right of return of some 7 million Palestinians with the status of refugee, “absentee” and internally displaced?
  • The Jewish National Fund (JNF) has been long recognised as a racist, land grabbing body within Israel. Currently there is a focus on the Negev, with a further bout of ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Bedouin Arab citizens of Israel an ongoing process, to make way for Jewish only settlements. Mr Blair holds an honorary position within the UK charity, the JNF Charitable Trust, which has its Negev Committee committed to financing projects in the Negev. Does Mr Blair recognise that such a position compromises any claim to be a neutral partner in the search for peace in Israel-Palestine?

Scottish Friends of Palestine further asks of Mr Blair:

  • Why is it that “Muslim opinion”, and Arab opinion, is so radical?
  • Given that the state of Israel blatantly ignores and contravenes international law and conventions as they apply to Israel’s relations with the Palestinian people, is he surprised that opinion is radicalised?
  • Will he encourage the state of Israel to adhere to international law (including the relevant UN Security Council resolutions) and international conventions as they apply to the Palestinian people?

Scottish Friends of Palestine believes that Mr Blair’s language very much indicates his focus vis a vis the rights of the Palestinian people and his understanding and concern over these rights. We would encourage the media to participate in the following “numbers game” to help understand Mr Blair’s position:

  • How many times does he repeat the words “Israel’s right to exist”? With Israel yet to declare any agreed international borders how many times does he indicate the borders to be recognised. Are they the ones indicate in the Partition Plan of November 1947? The boundaries created by the formation of the state of Israel in May 1948? The boundaries created in June 1967? Or the current boundaries delineated by occupied Palestine’s concrete walled and razor wired ghettos?
  • How many times does he repeat the words “occupation” or military occupation”?
  • How many times does he repeat the word “security” in the Israel only context?
  • How many times does he repeat “concessions” or “generous concessions” in the Israel context? The word “rights” in the Palestinian context?
  • Democracy. Given the near year long offensive against the result of the democratic process in occupied Palestine by the EU and the UK, how many times does he have the cheek to raise this issue?

Scottish Friends of Palestine is a firm advocate of the total boycott of all Israeli institutions, academic and cultural bodies and Israeli products – until as such times that the Israeli state ceases to boycott the rights of the Palestinian people, and international law as it pertains to the Palestinian people.

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