July 2, 2015
Dr. Gerhard Conrad
Minister for Political Affairs
I am writing about the vote tomorrow in the United Nations Human Rights Council on the compromise resolution being tabled by Palestine on the report of the independent Commission of Enquiry into the 2014 Gaza conflict.
Palestine has removed most of the specific references to the actions of the IDF and to the prima facie evidence of its disproportionate use of force. That should not have been necessary, but they did it nevertheless in order to make the resolution more palatable to Germany and some other countries. However, it is impossible to remove all such references without making the resolution meaningless.
The plain fact is that the conflict was really an Israeli assault, using the huge firepower of the IDF in ways that could not but cause heavy civilian casualties. Underlying that is the evidence that the assault was the result of Israeli provocations against Hamas members in the West Bank, to which Hamas eventually responded. (Our letter to the British Foreign office of 4th August 2014 refers.) And underlying that, of course, is the fact that this assault, like the three previous assaults on Gaza, is the result of Palestinian resistance to the 48-year Israeli occupation and settlement of their land.
Surely, this is the context in which this latest assault has to be seen. Attacks against Israeli civilians by Hamas and other groups cannot be condoned, but it has to be recognised that occupations produce violent resistance by the occupied people, sometimes amounting to terror attacks because of the great disparity of power between occupied and occupier. That is the terrible paradox of occupations.
We believe the German government should also be aware of the growing anger among Muslims all over the world against what appears to be the hypocrisy of some powerful western governments, Germany included, in the face of the Israeli occupation. While rhetorically supporting Palestinian rights, they decline to call Israel to account for what appear to be human rights abuses committed by the IDF, while continuing to do business as usual with Israel although it shows every sign of intending to continue the occupation and settlement project indefinitely. The abstention of Germany and other powerful EU member states in the United Nations General Assembly vote in 2012 on the resolution to upgrade the PLO to Observer State has not been forgotten.
For all these reasons, JFJFP urges Germany to vote in favour of the Palestinian resolution.
Parliamentary and Diplomatic Liaison Officer
Jews for Justice for Palestinians, London
and European Jews for a Just Peace