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Palestine

I have included here my increasingly unhinged letters to my MP on the subject of Palestine.

 

I have to make them into open letters because I am no longer receiving replies from the office staff or from my MP herself.

 

I took the stock template letters to free Palestine and they felt so cold to me, about something so deeply heart-breaking. What I wrote poured out of me. I try to keep them structured, I try to keep them professional, I do not swear, but they are emotional.

 

Every day that passes without political action being taken comes with a toll of hundreds or thousands of deaths. The importance of preserving life, of allowing life to thrive, is ignored by this apathy. The urgency is lost on these conversations, filled with platitudes and euphemisms, that action has to happen quickly, before an entire people are lost.

 

I highly encourage anyone else grappling with their fears at watching the inequalities, injustices and violence funded by our home country, to write and ask what our representatives are doing and what they will do to address it. We live in the comfort of a country made rich with Imperialism and colonisation, even as someone not born into the ruling class, not a politician able to put forward policies, someone living paycheck to paycheck, I benefit from all the privileges of hundreds of years of suffering and pain inflicted on others.

 

The only power I have is my voice, to my representatives and to my friends and family and peers. It is working, the consumer boycotts, the South African case in the United Court of Justice; are doing incredible work.

 

I engage in the Boycotts.

 

I scream into the void.

 

I desperately hope that humanity will prevail.

 

Ceasefire. NOW.

 

Free Palestine.

Palestine

16th October 2023

16th October 2023

31st October 2023

17th November 2023

9th December 2023

11th December 2023

27th December 2023

15th January 2024

19th January 2024

I can’t look away. We are seeing genocide in real time. I feel hopeless and helpless.

 

Writing to my MP here feels hollow and empty. I’ve written to you, the office of Sarah Dines before and it falls on deaf ears. Not to mention the speed of Westminster is measured in weeks, if not months. Israel is advising it’s citizens to have stores of tinned food, water, batteries; enough for 72 hours. I worry that this means there will be an assault and massacre of the civilians in Gaza under a blackout. That we are already too late and that the genocide is happening, is here, is now.

The cutting of electricity and internet is an attempt at a media blackout to control the story. The cutting of water and food, the closing of all checkpoints, the mandatory displacement of people from Northern to Southern Gaza only to bombard the south where the refugees have fled; all of these are war crimes in violation of the Geneva convention.

 

The language against Palestinians is vile, referring to them as cockroaches and vermin, all markers of genocidal language. Dehumanising them to make them easier to exterminate. Celebrities and influencers (mostly white) have been urging us to stay off social media this weekend, to preserve our mental health. But looking away is so much worse, looking away is denial. They say that the Palestinians last act of resistance is dying on their land, maybe our last act of complicity is looking away.

Please call for an immediate ceasefire, I beg of you. Don’t shy away from this, look at it and be witness to it all. Protect the Palestinians who are being exterminated.

 

Right now you don’t have to call for a free state of Palestine, you don’t have to call for anything more than a ceasefire. Just please stop the bombs from falling and the army from destroying these people before it’s too late.

 

One of your constituents,

Screaming into the void.

Thank you for your email. This is an automatic response to acknowledge that I have received your email. Please read the below email for important information regarding our correspondence.

 

Due to strict Parliamentary protocol, I am only able to provide assistance for those based in Derbyshire Dales. Please ensure that you have provided your full postal address, including postcode, and a contact telephone number, so I can get back to you as quickly as possible. If you are unsure who your Member of Parliament is, more information can be found at: https://members.parliament.uk/members/Commons.

 

IF YOU HAVE NOT PROVIDED YOUR ADDRESS, PLEASE RE-SEND YOUR ORIGINAL EMAIL WITH THE ADDRESS INCLUDED IN ORDER TO RECEIVE A RESPONSE.

 

In addition to the above information, please provide copies of any correspondence that pertain to your query that you wish for me to take up. I would also be very grateful if you could include any reference numbers for your case and the names of people that you have spoken with at the organisation you are contacting me about. This will streamline the casework process and ensure that your case is dealt with in a far quicker timeframe.

With kind regards,

Dear Henry,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write to Sarah Dines MP.

Please could you provide your full postal address?
We look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

Dear the-office-of-Sarah Dines


 

I’m genuinely disgusted in a lack of humanity, and a lack of courage, shown by Sarah Dines, and every MP who voted against this ceasefire.


 

Firstly, asking for my full postal address feels like a strange form of intimidation. I will provide it below if that be the barrier to entry to having a conversation with my MP, but I’d like to know how is this information stored? Why is it compiled? On what kind of database is it kept? and how is it protected in terms of GDPR? Why do you need the exact house number and not the postcode where I live?


 

Back to the matter at hand, the situation in Palestine is horrific. I’m personally ashamed that it’s taken this increase in violence for myself to become aware of the ongoing apartheid happening, but I am nationally ashamed, deeply ashamed, that our country is so irrevocably tied with the oppression and violence happening.

A ceasefire shouldn’t be a difficult political choice, simply wanting a stop to the bombing. Even if you refuse to believe the video footage coming from journalists in Gaza, a ceasefire gives time to investigate, validate and confirm or refute war crimes and genocide happening right in front of our faces.

How dare you, how dare you do the bare minimum in calling for a ceasefire.

The wheels of parliament were SO slow to bring even this to the table. Every day that passes causes more death, and chaos, and destruction. At this point, blood is on your hands.

What is the justification of voting against a ceasefire? In fact, as your constituent, please enlighten me, what is your official justification, the-office-of-Sarah Dines?


 

Your incredibly disappointed, yet unsurprised, constituent

Weeping in hopeless existential grief

Dear Henry,

Thank you for contacting me about the situation in Gaza.

A tragedy is unfolding in the Middle East. Israel has suffered the worst terror attack in its history at the hands of Hamas, and Palestinian civilians in Gaza are experiencing a humanitarian disaster. My thoughts are with all those affected. 

The UK recognises the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, and supports a lasting solution for Israelis and Palestinians alike. However, Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people or their aspirations; it offers nothing for them other than more terror and more bloodshed. I therefore support Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas, deter further incursions and strengthen its long-term security.

However, the loss of every innocent life is a tragedy, and the UK Government has repeatedly stressed that Israel must take every precaution to minimise civilian casualties, in line with international humanitarian law. Ministers regularly engage with Israeli counterparts to ensure that the campaign is targeted against Hamas terrorists and military infrastructure, and call for discipline, professionalism and restraint from the Israeli military.

The rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza is deeply troubling, and I welcome the extensive efforts of British Government to ensure that vital aid reaches the Palestinian people. 

During his recent visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the Foreign Secretary announced £30 million to support trusted partners, including UN agencies on the ground, to deliver lifesaving aid to people in Gaza. It brings to £60 million the additional aid announced by the UK for Palestinian civilians since the crisis started in October.

Funding alone is not enough, and work is ongoing to increase the flow of aid into Gaza; while the opening of the Rafah border crossing is a major development, the UK has confirmed that it will continue to work with Egypt, Israel and other international partners to increase the flow of support. 

I welcomed the recent pause in hostilities, which allowed for an increased flow of vital aid into Gaza and saw a number of hostages released. Ministers have made clear that the pause that took place between 24 November and 1 December should not be a one-off, and should act as a confidence-building mechanism for future pauses.

The UK Government is working towards a long-term two-state solution to ensure this crisis never recurs, and I am following developments closely.

I note calls for the UK to push for a ceasefire.

The UK is working via all diplomatic channels—bilaterally and collectively in the region—to ensure that this conflict, which has cost so many lives already, can be brought to a halt. 

However, the reality is that Hamas have no interest in a ceasefire. They have no interest in resolution, have never attempted to engage in a two-state solution and have made every attempt to collapse the Oslo process.

Furthermore, a unilateral and unconditional ceasefire would simply allow Hamas to entrench their position and continue their attacks. Indeed, Hamas have reiterated their intentions, stating clearly that "we will repeat the October 7 attack time and time again until Israel are annihilated". I must therefore reiterate that Israel has the right to take action to defend itself, and the UK, while respecting that, will continue to stress the necessity of adhering to international law and taking every possible measure to protect civilians. 

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Yours sincerely,

Sarah Dines MP
Member of Parliament for Derbyshire Dales

Dear Sarah Dines,


 

Thank you for your reply, I was made to feel incredibly uneasy about your response to my last email. But, due to its complexity and your admirable attention to detail, I’ve decided to go point by point to address my continued concerns and continued reasons that I believe you must call for a ceasefire. For your humanity and mine. Please find my comments, concerns and questions in the  italic lines below.

“Thank you for contacting me about the situation in Gaza.
A tragedy is unfolding in the Middle East. Israel has suffered the worst terror attack in its history at the hands of Hamas,

Immediately shifting the discourse away from Apartheid and to Hamas. An easy enemy and NOT the discussion points of my last email. Israel is committing war-crimes and directly targeting the CIVILIAN population of Palestine as well as engaging in collective punishment. Using weapons provided, in part, by the UK to murder children. To intentionally target hospitals.

and Palestinian civilians in Gaza are experiencing a humanitarian disaster. My thoughts are with all those affected.

Passive language to lessen the intentional murder of civilians. “Are experiencing?” At whose hands are they experiencing this? They are not experiencing a humanitarian disaster. They are being murdered in the streets as they flee to safety. The ‘safe areas’ from the IDF are continuing to be bombed. They are experiencing intentional genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Your thoughts are meaningless without actions. Truly your thoughts are killing the men, women and children of Palestine.

The UK recognises the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people,

Please elaborate. What aspirations does the UK recognise from Palestine? The stolen land? The Freedom from apartheid? The ability to walk streets that they, because of their ethnicity, are banned from? The freedom from terror of an oppressive occupation?

 

and supports a lasting solution for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

 

Does this solution include any curbing of supplying munitions to an oppressive government? Is the UK willing to accept its part in the establishment of this colonial nightmare? How are we facilitating a solution?

 

However, Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people or their aspirations; it offers nothing for them other than more terror and more bloodshed.

What does the UK recognise as the government of Palestine? Why are we hearing NOTHING about work happening between the UK and the Palestinian Authority? The focus is on Hamas, as if this is the only group that speaks for Palestine.

 

I therefore support Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas, deter further incursions and strengthen its long-term security.

1,200 killed in the October 7th attack

17,487 Palestinians killed since October 7th


I really want you to look at these numbers and say self defence again. This is a massacre.

29 Children killed in Israel on October 7th

30 Children taken as hostages on October 7th

3,324 Children killed in Palestine since October 7th

The murder of children is being applauded and encouraged by this government.


However, the loss of every innocent life is a tragedy, and the UK Government has repeatedly stressed that Israel must take every precaution to minimise civilian casualties, in line with international humanitarian law.

International human law is being broken daily. We are doing nothing. To stand and watch and say nothing, do nothing, is to tacitly approve. We are complicit in so many ways. This is the bare minimum. The time to call for a ceasefire was yesterday. Today is the next best time.

Ministers regularly engage with Israeli counterparts to ensure that the campaign is targeted against Hamas terrorists and military infrastructure, and call for discipline, professionalism and restraint from the Israeli military.

Please give an example of this happening. When has a member of our government engaged, in parliament or on the international stage, to ensure the campaign is targeting military infrastructure? What checks and balances are we asking for? Is there LITERALLY ANY oversight happening? Or are we taking the word of Israel at face value?

The rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza is deeply troubling, and I welcome the extensive efforts of British Government to ensure that vital aid reaches the Palestinian people. During his recent visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the Foreign Secretary announced £30 million tosupport trusted partners, including UN agencies on the ground, to deliver lifesaving aid to people in Gaza. It brings to £60 million the additional aid announced by the UK for Palestinian civilians since the crisis started in October.

May I ask why then the amount of foreign aid given to the Palestinian humanitarian crisis happening has dropped this year? 28.8 million has been budgeted before the October 7th attacks. Then a further 30million made available. This is significantly lower than the 2019 / 2020 amount of 93.5 million, or the average of 70.8million average yearly spend since 2010. The total this year of approx 58.8 million is actually a significant reduction at a time of crisis. Not to mention to sabotaging of aid packages happening from the Israeli military.

Funding alone is not enough, and work is ongoing to increase the flow of aid into Gaza; while the opening of the Rafah border crossing is a major development, the UK has confirmed that it will continue to work with Egypt, Israel and other international partners to increase the flow of support.

Is this support or is this encouraging the ethnic cleansing of Gaza by turning the indigenous Palestinian community into nation-less refugees?

I welcomed the recent pause in hostilities, which allowed for an increased flow of vital aid into Gaza and saw a number of hostages released. Ministers have made clear that the pause that took place between 24 November and 1 December should not be a one-off, and should act as a confidence-building mechanism for future pauses.

In other words you welcomed, but in no way called for, a limited ceasefire. You’re delighted with the effects of a ceasefire, to allow vital aid in, see peaceful negotiations brokered, and wish to see that continue, that it shouldn’t be a one off and should encourage future pauses. Such as a ceasefire.

The UK Government is working towards a long-term two-state solution to ensure this crisis never recurs, and I am following developments closely.

Closely. Quietly. Silently. Meaninglessly.

I note calls for the UK to push for a ceasefire.

Note this one. Note it loudly. I BEG you to do more than note.

The UK is working via all diplomatic channels—bilaterally and collectively in the region—to ensure that this conflict, which has cost so many lives already, can be brought to a halt.

However, the reality is that Hamas have no interest in a ceasefire. They have no interest in resolution, have never attempted to engage in a two-state solution and have made every attempt to collapse the Oslo process.

This is factually incorrect, in 2021 they called for a ceasefire and put down conditions. Israel declined with no attempt to negotiate and continued bombing them. If you mean specifically in 2023 could you provide an example of negotiations for ceasefire or conditions of ceasefire which have been rejected completely by Hamas?

However you’ve roped me into talking about Hamas again when actually the matter at hand is indiscriminate the murder of civilians by Israel. Regardless of Hamas’ actions, the collective punishment (A war crime), use of white phosphorus (a war crime) and intentional targeting of hospitals and schools (a war crime) MUST be stopped.

 

This CONSTANT conflation of the entire population with Hamas is incredibly dangerous and WILL lead, IS LEADING to the international sleepwalking into a genocide. We are killing the people of Palestine. Every one of us.

When the IRA was fighting for Northern Irish independence the UK didn’t carpet bomb Belfast. The government in Westminister would NOT have got away with sending missiles onto Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, we didn’t warn the ENTIRE CIVILIAN POPULATION to move to Banbridge, and them bomb Dromore as they fled.

Furthermore, a unilateral and unconditional ceasefire would simply allow Hamas to entrench their position and continue their attacks.

It’s almost like an occupying army enforcing inhumane conditions, apartheid and forcibly taking land for 70 years has made a boiling pot of anger and resentment. That treating the underlying problem, unilaterally, coming to the two-nation solution of which you speak is more important than ever.

Indeed, Hamas have reiterated their intentions, stating clearly that "we will repeat the October 7 attack time and time again until Israel are annihilated"

I am very very interested in this quote. Please provide a source for this, I would be interested to read more as I cannot find any information or quotes from the mouth piece of Hamas.

I must therefore reiterate that Israel has the right to take action to defend itself, and the UK, while respecting that, will continue to stress the necessity of adhering to international law and taking every possible measure to protect civilians.

Please name the measures we have taken to protect civilians. Please name any of them.

 

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Thank you for your response. In turn to your quote provided, here are some quotes for you, from the Israeli officials, in their own words.


 

Yoav Gallant, Defence Minister: “We’re fighting human animals and acting accordingly”

Isaac Herzog, President “It’s an entire nation out there that’s responsible”

Ariel Kallner, Knesset member “Right now, one goal: Nakba, a Nakba that will overshadow the Nakba of ‘48”

Moshe Feiglin, Zehut party leader “There is only one solution, to completely destroy Gaza. I mean a level of destruction like what happened in Dresden and Hiroshima”

Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister “You must remember what Amalek has done to you, says our holy bible, and we do remember”

Yinon Magal, Journalist, Politician “Nakba. Expel them all.”

Meirav Ben-Ari, Knesset member “The children of Gaza have brought this upon themselves”


 


 

Yours sincerely,

Your constituent

Drowning in a world on fire

List of sources:

https://www.barrons.com/news/israel-revises-down-october-7-hamas-attack-death-toll-to-1-200-foreign-ministry-07097f94

https://web.archive.org/web/20231114005923/https://www.nytimes.com/2023/11/12/world/middleeast/israel-death-toll-hamas-attack.html

https://www.factcheck.org/2023/11/dozens-of-children-died-in-hamas-oct-7-attack-on-israel-contrary-to-online-claim/

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/10/29/more-childrens-deaths-in-gaza-in-3-weeks-than-annual-total-since-2019-ngo

https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/how-many-palestinians-have-died-gaza-war-how-will-counting-continue-2023-12-06/

https://fullfact.org/news/palestinian-aid-spending/

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/11/22/reactions-to-israel-hamas-ceasefire-deal

https://abcnews.go.com/International/hamas-agree-ceasefire-israel-conditions-senior-official/story?id=77773676

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-palestine-war-fighting-human-animals-defence-minister

https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/chuck-schumer-anti-semitism-israel/

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/in-israels-call-for-mass-evacuation-palestinians-hear-echoes-of-their-original-catastrophic-exodus

https://www.newarab.com/analysis/erase-gaza-how-genocidal-rhetoric-normalised-israel

https://www.npr.org/2023/11/07/1211133201/netanyahus-references-to-violent-biblical-passages-raise-alarm-among-critics

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/11/15/world/middleeast/israel-gaza-war-rhetoric.html

https://mondoweiss.net/2023/10/israeli-politician-the-children-of-gaza-have-brought-this-upon-themselves/

Good morning Sarah Dines,

 

I’m following up my previous email to you.

Over Christmas I was lucky to see my loving family. We are one less this year, colon cancer stole my Godmother, but she outlived her prognosis by a year. As much as she was stolen from us this year, last Christmas was an unexpected gift.

I thought about her a lot this year. I held my family. I laughed with them. I thought of the 800 families erased entirely from the Palestinian register.

I ate Christmas Dinner, I sang Christmas jingles. I thought of Palestinians without food or water. Bombarded with the sounds of Planes, drones and oncoming bombs.

I’m glad that Rishi Sunak is calling for a ceasefire the day following BP’s oil shipments being disrupted. It is one steps to calm the killings, but the focus must be on preserving life, not stock.

Again I beg you to publicly support a ceasefire. I call on your office to ban the export of weapons from the Uk to Israel. To see a genocide and say nothing for 80 days is inhumanly cruel. To be the very ones who send them the weapons that murder men, women, children, pregnant ladies on the steps of a church… that’s another level of evil.

I have never been more ashamed to be British.

I imagine you will want to delete this email without reading it. As per the tory staffer whatsapp messages I am one of the ‘Deluded people who’ll never vote for us’. You declined to reply to my previous email, my questions go unanswered, 250 Palestinians died on Christmas day alone.

So now, call for a ceasefire. Call for a ban on weapons exports to violent, genocidal regimes. Or please explain to me, in detail, the morality of funding genocide, the reasoning for delaying a ceasefire.

 

Your constituent

Merry Christmas

 

Sources:

https://www.newarab.com/news/israeli-army-shot-pregnant-women-ran-over-bodies-report

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/live-blog/israel-hamas-war-live-updates-dozens-killed-gaza-strikes-christmas-day-rcna131102

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/bloody-christmas-250-palestinians-killed-in-ongoing-attack/ar-AA1m2n7n

https://www.itv.com/news/2023-11-10/tory-whatsapps-dubs-met-boss-islamic-scholar-over-march-stance

https://caat.org.uk/app/uploads/2023/12/Fact-sheet-re-Gaza-v2-Dec-2023.pdf

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/dec/06/uk-government-faces-legal-challenge-over-arms-exports-to-israel

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/dec/18/keir-starmer-joins-rishi-sunak-in-calling-for-sustainable-ceasefire-in-gaza

https://www.lbc.co.uk/news/bp-halts-oil-shipments-red-sea-rebel-attacks/

https://www.lbc.co.uk/news/rishi-sunak-sustainable-ceasefire-middle-east/

Dear Sarah Dines,

 

I feel that I have to make my letters to you into open letters because I am no longer receiving replies from the office staff or from yourself. I am operating on a 10 day turnaround for letters, although I understand things aside from how busy we are get in the way of replies. I myself replied to your first email so late because it was filtered into the Spam folder.

 

I took the stock template letters to free Palestine and they felt so cold to me, about something so deeply heart-breaking. What I wrote poured out of me. I try to keep them structured, I try to keep them professional, I do not swear, but they are emotional. Please do not ignore them for their tone, I am so serious about the need for an enforced ceasefire, for aid, for war-crime investigations and for protections for the Palestinian people.

 

Every day that passes without political action being taken comes with a toll of hundreds or thousands of deaths. The importance of preserving life, of allowing life to thrive, is ignored by this apathy. The urgency is lost on these conversations, filled with platitudes and euphemisms, that action has to happen quickly, before an entire people are lost.

 

We live in the comfort of a country made rich with Imperialism and colonisation, even as someone not born into the ruling class, not a politician able to put forward policies, someone living paycheck to paycheck, I benefit from all the privileges of hundreds of years of suffering and pain inflicted on others.

 

The only power I have is my voice, to my representatives and to my friends and family and peers. It is working, the consumer boycotts, the South African case in the United Court of Justice; are doing incredible work.

 

I engage in the Boycotts.

 

I scream into the void.

 

I desperately hope that humanity will prevail.

 

Ceasefire. NOW.

 

Free Palestine.

 

Part of the reason I am so vocal about the genocide happening in Palestine currently is because we are so embroiled in selling the weapons, funding the IDF and blocking or Veto-ing any cease to the bloodshed in the United Nations. Not to mention our country’s history in the creation of Israel as it currently stands.

 

There is an urgency to this movement, and a distinct goal to achieve in that urgency, namely:

 

-A ceasefire

-The focussed input of food, water and medical aid to Palestine

-A ban on all British arms exports to Israel

-An investigation into the war crimes committed by the Israeli forces and the Israeli governing body

 

Then the complex political process of reparations, rebuilding, return of stolen land and the growth of equality and freedom for the Palestinian people.

 

I am still very much interested to the answers and justifications to the questions I raise in my email to you from December 11th 2023. However, if there is no other takeaway at all, please, simply:

 

Call for a ceasefire. Save the lives we can before they are all lost.

 

Your constituent,

Devastated

Grieving

Dear Henry,

Thank you for your emails.

On the whole, once Sarah has responded with her views on a matter, we tend not to send emails which simply repeat what has been said. Please refer to the email below.

Kind regards,

The Office of Sarah Dines MP

________________________________________
From: XXXX
Sent: 9 December 2023 10:27
To: XXXX
Subject: Email from Sarah Dines MP (Case Ref: SD40513)

Dear Henry,

Thank you for contacting me about the situation in Gaza.

A tragedy is unfolding in the Middle East. Israel has suffered the worst terror attack in its history at the hands of Hamas, and Palestinian civilians in Gaza are experiencing a humanitarian disaster. My thoughts are with all those affected. 

The UK recognises the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, and supports a lasting solution for Israelis and Palestinians alike. However, Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people or their aspirations; it offers nothing for them other than more terror and more bloodshed. I therefore support Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas, deter further incursions and strengthen its long-term security.

However, the loss of every innocent life is a tragedy, and the UK Government has repeatedly stressed that Israel must take every precaution to minimise civilian casualties, in line with international humanitarian law. Ministers regularly engage with Israeli counterparts to ensure that the campaign is targeted against Hamas terrorists and military infrastructure, and call for discipline, professionalism and restraint from the Israeli military.

The rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza is deeply troubling, and I welcome the extensive efforts of British Government to ensure that vital aid reaches the Palestinian people. 

During his recent visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the Foreign Secretary announced £30 million to support trusted partners, including UN agencies on the ground, to deliver lifesaving aid to people in Gaza. It brings to £60 million the additional aid announced by the UK for Palestinian civilians since the crisis started in October.

Funding alone is not enough, and work is ongoing to increase the flow of aid into Gaza; while the opening of the Rafah border crossing is a major development, the UK has confirmed that it will continue to work with Egypt, Israel and other international partners to increase the flow of support. 

I welcomed the recent pause in hostilities, which allowed for an increased flow of vital aid into Gaza and saw a number of hostages released. Ministers have made clear that the pause that took place between 24 November and 1 December should not be a one-off, and should act as a confidence-building mechanism for future pauses.

The UK Government is working towards a long-term two-state solution to ensure this crisis never recurs, and I am following developments closely.

I note calls for the UK to push for a ceasefire.

The UK is working via all diplomatic channels—bilaterally and collectively in the region—to ensure that this conflict, which has cost so many lives already, can be brought to a halt. 

However, the reality is that Hamas have no interest in a ceasefire. They have no interest in resolution, have never attempted to engage in a two-state solution and have made every attempt to collapse the Oslo process.

Furthermore, a unilateral and unconditional ceasefire would simply allow Hamas to entrench their position and continue their attacks. Indeed, Hamas have reiterated their intentions, stating clearly that "we will repeat the October 7 attack time and time again until Israel are annihilated". I must therefore reiterate that Israel has the right to take action to defend itself, and the UK, while respecting that, will continue to stress the necessity of adhering to international law and taking every possible measure to protect civilians. 

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Yours sincerely,

Sarah Dines MP
Member of Parliament for Derbyshire Dales
 

Two Addendums

Hate Crime

Islamophobia in the Uk is at all time high*. The rhetoric people face for speaking out about the plight of Palestine is to be labelled terrorists and anti-semites. The violence that is happening to the people of Palestine, approved and supported by our government in the UN Veto any ceasefire and in the literal supply of arms to Israel, is contributing to the violence domestically. Racist Islamophobes are committing violent acts against anyone visibly Arab or Muslim, as they know our government encourages the genocide and ethnic cleansing in Palestine, so they mirror the actions at home. The rhetoric that the countries leaders use makes a huge difference to the actions of people already wanting to commit atrocities.

 

It also affects every part of life in less physical, but no less harmful, actions. People are losing their jobs for supporting Palestine, schoolchildren are punished for wearing Palestinian clothing or symbols, blocked from exams*. Not to mention the continued dangerous actions of the police during protests, across all activism in the Uk.

 

I also want to address my fear of anti-Semitism here. In the UK Anti-Jewish hate crime is at an all time high*, the far-right is in resurgence all through Europe. It must be a scary time to be Jewish in the UK. the aggressors, the oppressors, the enforcers of the Apartheid are the Israeli government, separate entirely as an identity from the Jewish faith. The US government decries anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism but there is a lack of nuance in identifying the criticising of a government to the violent persecution of a people. An occupying power committing genocide

 

To add into this every time a pro-Israel pundit decries the criticism of a Government of war-crimes and genocide as ‘anti-Semitism’ it muddies the definition of anti-Semitism, it pulls the ties of idea of Judaism closer to Zionism, and opens up the danger of genuine racist anti-Semites exploiting this. The anti-Semites that exist and are very real are using this time as carte blanche to stir division and tension, and to villainise Jewish and Arabic people alike, it plays directly into the hands of white supremacists. In groups like Jews for Justice for Palestinians, European Jews for a Just Peace and Jewish Voice for Peace we see, obviously, that the Jewish faith is NOT a monoculture. The constant pairing of Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism is hurting the Jewish diaspora.

 

*https://www.theguardian.com/news/2022/feb/10/anti-jewish-hate-incidents-hit-record-high-in-uk
*https://www.itv.com/news/2023-07-20/punched-and-told-to-leave-britain-islamophobia-reaches-record-high

*https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/Israel-Palestine-war-uk-hostile-environment-palestine-activism

 

These Letters, This cause

I have supported many causes in protest and boycotts and some in letter writing. As I tip into my 30s properly I am the most politically aware that I have ever been. I’m also aware of the dangers of ‘trending’ world news stories and hopping from cause to cause. Part of the reason I am so vocal about the genocide happening in Palestine currently is because we are so embroiled in selling the weapons, funding the IDF and blocking or Veto-ing any cease to the bloodshed in the United Nations. Not to mention our country’s history in the creation of Israel as it currently stands.

 

There is an urgency to this movement, and a distinct goal to achieve in that urgency, namely a ceasefire, the focussed input of food, water and medical aid to Palestine, a ban on all British arms exports to Israel, an investigation into the war crimes committed by the Israeli forces and the Israeli governing body.

 

Then the complex political process of reparations, rebuilding, return of stolen land and the growth of equality and freedom for the Palestinian people.

 

And of course there’s the total disregard of my letters, and the Tories contempt for any amount of political engagement with their constituents, as made evident in the leaked whatsapp messages and the complete failure to respond to my recent letters. I can only make these open letters and put them out to anyone who may know me, come across my work or otherwise find these words. If I find I am unable to make change in the petitions, protest or direct communication in other causes I may add other open letters to this section, and I will try to update with any responses I receive or additional letters I write as well.

 

I hope I have been considered and nuanced enough in my writing, I hope that this may all aid in fighting for humanity, for life, for our collective soul.

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