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JfJfP comments


06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics


23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo


15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014


29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011



Don’t blame Hamas for starting it: JfJfP to William Hague

Letter to British Foreign Secretary

The Right Honourable William Hague MP
Foreign Secretary
Foreign & Commonwealth Office,
King Charles Street,
London SW1A 2AH

November 20th, 2012

Dear Mr Hague,

We write to express our astonishment at your statement of 15th November, when you said that Hamas bears principal responsibility for the current crisis. It is difficult to square that with the recorded pattern of attacks or with the resulting deaths and injuries, and impossible to square it with the first-hand account of cease-fire negotiations.

The statistics provided by OCHA (the UN Office for the Protection of Civilians) is the most authoritative record of the intensification of the conflict. They show a pattern of mutual attacks during the year to the end of October 2012, with 73 Palestinians being killed while no Israelis were killed. Israeli forces also carried out incursions into Gaza together with destruction of crops and the targeting of fishermen within Gaza’s Oslo-recognised maritime exclusion zone.

Although Israel had been killing militants continually from early October, which often triggered retaliatory rocket attacks, from 4th November Israel began to kill civilians on land, killing an epilepsy sufferer who strayed too near their border and refusing to allow an ambulance to reach him for several hours. On 10th November an anti-tank missile fired by Palestinian fighters wounded four Israeli soldiers on the Israel-Gaza boundary. Israeli forces then fired an artillery shell that landed in a soccer field, killing two children, aged 16 and 17. Later, an Israeli tank fired a shell at a tent, where mourners had gathered for a funeral, killing two more civilians and wounding more than two dozen others. This resulted in a barrage of rocket fire. It would seem that this was a pattern of mutual attacks, not of Hamas initiating the confrontation.

However, most important is the revelation of ceasefire negotiation by the Israeli negotiator, Gershon Baskin, firstly to Haaretz and then in an OpEd in the New York Times. On 12th November the militant factions confirmed their agreement to cease firing providing Israel stopped its military actions against them. The Palestinian in charge of the negotiations was none other than Ahmed Jabari, who had kept the militant factions in check for years and who had negotiated the release of Gilad Shalit with Gershon Baskin. Israel destroyed the nascent ceasefire by assassinating him, and then commenced its concentrated attacks. The Israeli government justified it by referring to his organizing of terrorist attacks “over 10 years”, thereby neatly ignoring the ceasefire negotiations. The only credible conclusion is that the Israeli government did not want a ceasefire. It is unfortunate that Israel feels its actions are covered by Western support. After all Netanyahu is on record as saying: ‘contrary to the childish scare-mongering in some of our media suggesting that Israel is now more isolated internationally, we have conducted this operation with firm Western backing’.

Underlying this confrontation, of course, is the clear evidence that this Israeli government has no intention of negotiating peace along the internationally accepted lines. Not only has it refused in principle to cease settlement expansion, but it has undertaken several specific actions that are clear markers of its intentions to keep large parts of the West Bank and East Jerusalem., all of which are known to your staff in the FCO. The most directly relevant is its refusal to submit negotiating proposals to the Quartet a year ago. It continues to maintain its siege of Gaza which imprisons the population and prevents all economic development, creating a pressure cooker environment which is ideal for recruitment to the militant factions.

None of this has been lost on Hamas or the other Palestinian groups. It is not surprising that they resort to mounting attacks as part of resisting Israeli expansionism, and that leads to Israeli repression, which leads to the cycle of violence. The time has surely come to stop blaming Hamas and to place the responsibility squarely on Israeli expansionism where it belongs. Until Israel is held to account for its actions, it is hard to see how the cycle of violence will end.

Yours sincerely

Diana Neslen

Arthur Goodman

For Jews for Justice for Palestinians
(the largest Jewish Peace and Justice group in Europe, with 1600* signatories.)

P.O.Box 46081
London W9 2ZF

[*1,707 at 18 November 2012]

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