LETTER: Palestine twinning facts

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TO parody Shakespeare, methinks G. Metcalfe doth protest too much. (Letters, “Twinning Concern”, January 4th).

It is misguided of those who oppose Pendle being twinned with Beit Leed in the Palestinian West Bank to make the excuse that we should not do so as we do not support other worthy causes.

There are also those (mainly Conservatives) who say we should not be wasting time discussing twinning when there are local problems to be addressed.

Presumably, if they are consistent in their objections on these grounds, they will also be calling for an end to Pendle twinning with Marl in Germany and Creil in France. Somehow, I don’t think this will happen, which exposes the hypocrisy of their position.

Mr Metcalfe is prejudiced historically over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as is the BNP councillor, who accuses Palestinians of having links with terrorist groups.

So, please allow me to put the record straight. The seeds of the conflict began with the “Balfour Declaration” in 1917, which stated that “His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object … ”.

After the Second World War, under the British mandate, the declaration was implemented with the influx of Jews into Palestine, who created the state of Israel. The British did not protect the property and lives of Palestinians under the terms of the declaration, which undertook to ensure “that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”.

Jewish immigrants forcibly evicted Palestinians from their communities. In some cases, Jews carried out ethnic cleansing, massacres and even acts of genocide in order to achieve their objective of occupying and controlling Palestinian territories. The expansion of the Jewish state continued, at the expense of the indigenous Arab population.

By 2006, Israel had occupied 87% of former Palestine. This will increase to nearly 90% if Israel goes ahead with its declared policy to occupy and build 3,000 more homes/settlements in the West Bank. If this happens a further 2,300 Palestinians would be displaced from their homes and land. Such an incursion would create an exclusive Israeli enclave, which would cut off Palestinian communities in the North from those in the South.

If the Middle East crisis is not resolved sooner rather than later, the world may be faced with wholesale war between Israel and surrounding Arab states including Iran. Israel should surrender their nuclear weapons to stop Iran producing their own.

The UK has a particular role in working for justice and peace because of its historical responsibility under the British mandate in Palestine and as a nuclear power, which should be committed to nuclear disarmament as a signatory of the non-proliferation treaty.

There can be no peace without justice for the Palestinians.



Pendle Palestine Twinning Group