An open letter to the British Government from Shaista Gohir
Dear Prime Minister,
I am writing to confirm my outrage at the attack carried out by Israeli commandos on civilians who were onboard ships carrying aid to Gaza. The Israeli government has again used disproportionate force and this time killed 19 civilians and injured more than two dozen others. Such action cannot be justified in terms of Israeli security.
Questions need to be asked as to why hundreds of ordinary citizens from around the world, including those from Britain, felt they had to take aid to Gaza. Had governments taken action to ensure Palestinians were receiving sufficient levels of aid, this would not have been necessary. Israel has no right to deny the basic human rights of 1.5 million Palestinians. Although Israel deny there is a humanitarian crisis and claim they allow aid into Gaza regularly, all international human rights agencies confirm there is a crisis, that Palestinians are living in inhumane conditions, and less than a quarter of the aid needed is allowed through.
Other governments, including those in Europe have been quick to respond and condemn the Israeli actions. However, I am disappointed on the slow response from the British Foreign Office. Silence and inaction will be seen by Israel as encouragement of their attitude, behaviour and actions. Successive British governments have failed to take sufficient action to demand Israel respect human rights and have not exerted meaningful pressure to stop the building of Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian territories – both which undermine the feasibility of a two state solution.
I appeal to the new British government not to stand by and watch 1.5 million people be gradually killed or starved and deprived of basic needs such as electricity, water, food and medical supplies. British values of justice and fairness should take priority over offending the Israeli government.
As a member of the Muslim community, I continue to witness at firsthand the extreme anger amongst ordinary law abiding and liberal Muslims at the current situation and the ongoing crisis in Gaza. Due to serious concerns over Gaza and possible repercussions for the UK, I request a meeting with yourself, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary along with other Muslim leaders to discuss this matter further and to understand how the British government plans to respond on this latest development as well as how it plans to bring peace to the region.
I look forward to meeting with you urgently.
Shaista Gohir MBE
cc. Rt Hon Willam Hague MP, Foreign Secretary.
cc. Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, Deputy Prime Minister.