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The Jewish Chronicle: DfID Israel "land-grab" video removed

The Jewish Chronicle: DfID Israel "land-grab" video removed

Categories: Latest News

Thursday September 01 2011

Last week’s JC revisited a story from the previous week concerning a DfID video in which the Minister for International Development, Alan Duncan MP, describes the illegal wall constructed by Israel in the Occupied West Bank as a “land-grab”.

The video, which appeared on the DfID website, has now been removed after “The Board of Deputies wrote to Mr Duncan … to demand the withdrawal of the video, copying in his boss, Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell, and Foreign Secretary William Hague,” according to the JC.

Mr Duncan in the video, which outlines the new DfID Palestinian Programme – Operational Plan 2011-2015, said:

“The wall is a land-grab. It hasn’t just gone along the lines of the proper Israeli boundary. It’s taken in open land which actually belongs to Palestine. So that’s not a security wall, that’s a perimeter wall trying to annex land that does not belong to Israel.”

“Let me give you the real picture of what settlement activity amounts to. Israeli settlers can build what they want and then immediately get the infrastructure so that takes the water deliberately away from Palestinians here. The Israelis can build and this is not their country, but the Palestinians, whose country this is, cannot build.”

The JC reports that the video “sparked fury from community leaders and the Israeli embassy”. Which is hardly unsurprising since the Israelis maintain the wall is a “security measure.”

The International Court of Justice in 2004 ruled that the wall is illegal and called upon all states “not to recognise the situation and ensure Israel’s compliance with international law”.

With the recent announcement of new settlements being authorized for building in the Occupied West Bank, the Israelis have long displayed a clear disdain for international law and its rendering of all settlements in the Occupied Territories as illegal.

The JC reports that the video has been forced offline with the Department for International Development and the FCO locked in disagreement over its content.

However, questions that remain:

1. If the video, as a DfID spokesperson maintains, reflects the Government position on the illegal nature of the wall and its violating the boundaries of a future Palestinian state, and the annexing of water resources by Israel from the Palestinians living in the West Bank, why has the video been removed?

2. If it is the Government’s stated position that building in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, whether settlements or a “security barrier” are an obstacle to peace and to the viability of a two-state solution, why does it shy away from declaring this in different mediums – whether official statements, or videos on department websites?

3. If what Alan Duncan MP said on the discriminatory nature of laws as applied to Israelis and Palestinians accords with reality, and there is ample evidence to point to Israel’s discriminatory treatment of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, why would the Government allow itself to be cowed from speaking the truth?

Perhaps all answers are to be found in the advertisement placed by the Conservative Party in the JC in the weeks before the last general election?

ENGAGE has written a letter expressing support to Alan Duncan for his comments about the facts of the Israeli occupation, which you can read here.

You can also write to Alan Duncan MP expressing your support for his stating the facts via email – [email protected], or phone on 020 7219 5204

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