Letters to the Editor: Challenge to Wirral politicians over stance on Palestine

Dear Editor,

I assume you have been following the events unfolding in Israel and Palestine. Israel has illegally invaded and occupied Palestine since 1967. Israel has since brutally oppressed, persecuted, illegally detained, injured, and murdered thousands of Palestinians, and has recently made clear its intention to commit genocide, and is currently engaged in genocide, of Palestinians. 
 
South Africa has made a submission to the International Court of Justice, heard on 11th January 2024, accusing Israel of both genocide and (of announcing its) intent to commit genocide, which is also a crime in international law. I attach the submission and ask that you read it. 
 
Our government and the opposition party has been complicit in the incitement to commit genocide in its language and its practical support, including provision of arms. This is a crime in UK law. I hope very much that British politicians, including MPs of both the Conservative Government and the Labour opposition, will be brought to justice for these crimes. 
 
I note with dismay that Wirral Conservatives are happy to boast of their government’s complicity in genocide on their webpage. 

 https://www.wallaseyconservatives.com/news/wirral-council-we-stand-israel 
 
I find the Council’s motion, detailed at the webpage above, which sends condolences to the Israeli ambassador following the horrendous attacks of 7th October 2023 repulsive in its refusal to send condolences to the Palestinian ambassador for the lives, freedom and property taken by force, and the crimes committed by Israel in the many years of illegal occupation that preceded 7th October 2023, or the atrocities and genocide committed by Israel since that date clearly described and evidenced in the attached document. The framing of opposition to genocide and the demand for a ceasefire as being antisemitic is an appalling element of the Government’s response. 
 
It is Palestine that has been invaded and it is Palestine that has the right in law to defend itself. 
 
Israel has no right to defend itself in illegally occupied territory especially by targeting innocent civilians nor by committing genocide. These are war crimes. 
 
The support this Council has demonstrated for Ukraine and lack of support for Palestine, demonstrates astounding and sickening hypocrisy. 
 
https://wirralview.com/safe-vibrant-communities/wirral-joins-moment-national-reflection-anniversary-invasion-ukraine 
 
The majority of people in the UK support a ceasefire and yet local and national politicians unbelievably refuse to support this position despite Israel’s stated intention to continue in its genocidal actions for a further year. 
 
I quote from South Africa’s submission, a submission with growing international support, ‘Israel has now killed in excess of 21,110 named Palestinians, including over 7,729 children — with over 7,780 others missing, presumed dead under the rubble — and has injured over 55,243 other Palestinians, causing them severe bodily and mental harm.’ 
 
‘Entire multi-generational families have been wiped out completely.’ 
 
‘Israel has also laid waste to vast areas of Gaza, including entire neighbourhoods, and has damaged or destroyed in excess of 355,000 Palestinian homes, alongside extensive tracts of agricultural land, bakeries, schools, universities, businesses, places of worship, cemeteries, cultural and archaeological sites, municipal and court buildings, and critical infrastructure, including water and sanitation facilities and electricity networks, while pursuing a relentless assault on the Palestinian medical and healthcare system.’ 
 
Blinne Ni Ghralaigh KC in her verbal submission to the International Court of Justice said that whilst this genocide continues ‘each day over 10 Palestinian children will have one or both legs amputated many without anaesthetic’ and ‘according to the world food program four out of five people in the world in famine or a catastrophic type of hunger, are in Gaza right now, indeed experts warn that deaths from starvation and disease risk significantly outstripping deaths from bombing’. 
 
My request and challenge to the leaders of Wirral’s two largest parties, that supported the emergency motion in support of Israel, is to write and publish a justification for their position that explains their support for Ukraine, but not Palestine, their inability to recognise the greater suffering of the Palestinian people over many years by way of a brutal illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel and the Council’s refusal to send condolences to the Palestinian ambassador to the UK, Husam Zomlot, as set out in the Green party’s amendment. I ask that these statements be made public in the local press so the residents of Wirral can judge their worth and respond. 
  
Regards, 

Val Bodels 
 
In solidarity with the people of Palestine suffering genocide at the hands of an occupying Israeli army. 

With thanks to Dr Tim Watson 

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