Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP
Secretary of State for Wales
15 May 2018
Dear Alun Cairns
We are writing to you as Palestine solidarity campaigners, human rights and peace activists in Wales, appalled at the killing of unarmed Palestinians, children, medics and journalists during recent protests in Gaza by Israeli forces.
Since March 30th, thousands of Palestinians in Gaza have established camps and protested in support of their right to return to their land and to bring about the end of the illegal occupation, theft of land and decade long Israeli siege. The UN warns that Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020 unless urgent action is taken. As it stands, 97% of the water is not safe for consumption and there are electrical blackouts for around 16 hours each day. Former UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, stated that “the closure of Gaza suffocates its people… It’s a collective punishment for which there must be accountability.”
To date, Israeli troops have killed 90 unarmed protestors and injured thousands more with live explosive bullets causing horrific life changing injuries. Hospitals are overwhelmed. On 14 May alone, more than 50 civilians were killed including 6 children and one medical worker. According to Human Rights Watch, “Israeli soldiers were not merely using excessive force, but were apparently acting on orders that all but ensured a bloody military response to the Palestinian demonstrations. The result was foreseeable deaths and injuries of demonstrators on the other side of a border who posed no imminent threat to life.” It is notable that there has not been a single Israeli casualty, and that Palestinians have refrained from escalating violence despite the attacks on them.
The Israeli rhetoric that this is a Hamas action is clearly incorrect. These demonstrations were called and co-ordinated by the civilian population of Gaza, publicised widely as such in advance and later supported by Hamas.
We ask that you condemn the Israeli Government's massacre of unarmed civilians in Gaza and work to ensure the British government fulfils its legal obligations as a third state actor in upholding international law by:
- Supporting the UN’s call for an independent and effective investigation into the use of lethal force by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians exercising their right to demonstrate.
- Taking immediate action to end the siege of Gaza, which is illegal as a form of collective punishment.
- Ensuring UK arms, finance, and trade are not used to support Israel’s unlawful actions.