The European Parliament has been playing an increasingly important role in supporting Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza. It has also been highly critical in the past of Israel’s over-reaction to Hamas and its wanton destruction of the civilian infrastructure in Gaza.
So we were surprised to see that the newly elected Green MEP for the South West, Dr. Molly Scott Cato, had voted against an EU resolution in September condemning the latest attacks on Gaza in operation Protective Edge. We wrote to ask her why.
We have now received a very full reply on Molly’s behalf setting out both her own views and those of the group of UK Green MEPs. It explains that the decision to vote against the September resolution was because it didn’t go far enough. For example, Molly is also calling for a comprehensive arms embargo throughout the region, the immediate lifting of the Gaza blockade and termination of Tony Blair’s role as ‘Peace Envoy’ for the Middle East.
Coincidentally, we have also been sent a copy of a reply from another South West MEP, the Conservative Ashley Fox, responding to a request that he support the calls being made for a suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement. This strikes a very different note, starting with “Hamas is a terrorist organisation. lt deliberately provoked an Israeli military response whilst sheltering behind the people that it professes to protect in the knowledge that many of them would be killed in the violence.” Mr. Fox did, however, vote in favour of the September resolution as did our other Conservative MEP, Julie Girling .
You can read both responses here and draw your on conclusions. MollyScottCato081214 AshleyFoxMEP
We are still trying to elicit the views of UKIP given that they also have two MEPs representing the South West. Previous requests to the self-styled ‘Earl of Independence’ – a.k.a. William the Earl of Dartmouth – went unanswered but we will try again. And we will write to Claire Moody, the Region’s one Labour MEP . Also newly elected in 2014, she too voted in support of the September resolution.
More to follow when we get a response.
UNA Gloucestershire have arranged for an illustrated talk and discussion on “Gaza: A liveable place” led by Hilary Browne, starting at 7:30pm on Tuesday, 25th November, at the Victory Club, Burlington House, Lypiatt Road, Cheltenham GL50 2SY.
Hilary is a Quaker from Bradford. She has spent time in Jerusalem, the West Bank and most recently, in 2013, in Gaza. For more details see http://www.una.org.uk/events/una-gloucestershire-county-gaza-liveable-place
A liveable place? Walking to school in Gaza, November 2014: Photo Jehad Saftawi
The protest outside the Israeli embassy yesterday in London, photo from the London branch of the PSC. The protest was peaceful and the organisers estimated 10,000 people came.
Link to the London Evening Standard report http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/rabbi-stands-on-top-of-doubledecker-bus-in-west-london-as-part-of-propalestine-protest-against-israeli-aggression-9601565.html
And pictures from worldwide protests from the ‘Jews For Justice’ website http://jfjfp.com/?p=62265
July 9th 2014
Worcester – Palestine Friendship Group held an evening of talks about the Palestine Trauma Centre, http://en.ptcgaza.com/ , on Thursday July 3rd 2014.
This is a local organisation in Gaza who try to support people traumatised by the constant stress, helplessness and threat of violence in Gaza. They said their aim was to build resilience in families and communities, so that people could cope rather than being completely overwhelmed. Among other referrals, they get children referred who are too upset to speak. They said there is a high level of stress in Gaza, and very limited services for mental or physical health.
They talked about research on coping with PTSC (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and said that for Gaza a new term was needed, because the stress continues, it is not from events in the past. And research on what therapies can help people. They get funding from abroad but all decisions are local.