Press Release 26 May 2008

Gerald Quin was fourteen years of age when he first read and heard the reports of the activities, in Palestine, of “Jewish terrorists”. At that age Gerald was unaware that he was witnessing the fruits of one of the last acts of colonialism in the first half of the 20th century, when the adherents of Zionism waged a brutal war of terror and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people, in order to establish their state.

He was also unaware, at that time, that the widespread acts of terror against the Palestinian people – car bombs, lorry bombs, barrel bombs, fruit basket bombs, letter bombs together with the well practised art of the massacre of civilians – was only possible thanks to the earlier promises of fellow Scot, Arthur J. Balfour, the UK Foreign Secretary in 1917.

Sixty years later, Gerald Quin, decided that it was time Scotland, and the wider United Kingdom, made a long overdue apology to the Palestinian people for the utter tragedy which Balfour, ultimately, invited upon their heads.

However, foreign affairs is an issue reserved for the Westminster parliament, so only Westminster can apologise for the actions of Arthur J Balfour.

On Tuesday, 27th May 2pm, the Petitions Committee of the Scottish Parliament will consider the Petition calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to make representations to the UK Government inviting it to apologise to displaced Palestinians for the actions of Arthur Balfour and to promote early implementation of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 of 11 December 1948 to secure the Palestinian peoples inalienable right to live in peace and security in any part of their historic homeland.

Scottish Friends of Palestine congratulates Mr Quin on the initiative and hard work necessary to take his petition forward to the stage where it has been accepted by the bureaucracy of the Parliament. In doing so, the petition has lost none of its urgency or currency.

Peace in Israel/Palestine can only be achieved by recognising the rights of the Palestinian people – not by compromise or Road Maps which bypass and ignore international law. And principal amongst these rights is the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to return to their land.

Scottish Friends of Palestine urges the Petitions Committee to recognise Scotland’s responsibility, as a member of the world community of states, in ensuring that justice and the rule of law prevails in Israel/Palestine.

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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