In February 2023, JJP started lobbying the Foreign Office, the U S Embassy and the London embassies of nine influential EU member states about the new Israeli government. This new government, including the openly Jewish supremacist, racist Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, openly speaks what used to be lotto voce in Israeli governments. Now more than ever, it is clear that only heavy pressure can impel Israel to end the occupation.
One of our lobbying letters is below.
Joseph Pennington 14 February 2023
Minister Counselor for Political Affairs, Embassy of the United States
Dear Mr. Pennington,
We would like to meet to discuss the new Israeli coalition government, which is dependent for its existence on two openly racist parties which have hitherto been excluded from government. Their leaders’ Jewish supremacism and propensity for violence are well known. They have been given sensitive senior ministerial positions directly affecting Palestinians’ lives.
Itamar Ben Gvir, leader of Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) is National Security Minister, including authority over the Israeli police’s policies. Bezalel Smotrich, leader of Religious Zionism, is Finance Minister but with an unprecedented additional position in the Defence Ministry, in which he will control the military administration of the West Bank.
They have already begun to inflame tensions. Starting with a massive Israeli raid on Jenin refugee camp on 26 January, there was a series of attacks and reprisals over two weeks. 24 Palestinians and nine Israeli Jews were killed or wounded, bringing to more than 40 the number of Palestinians killed since the start of the year.
One of the Palestinian assailants was a 13-year old boy whose 16-year old cousin was shot dead by police a few days earlier. That is a sign of how desperate the Palestinians have become. If Ben Gvir and Smotrich are not reined in, we could be facing a third intifada with 6,000 people killed, as happened in the Second Intifada which lasted from 2000 to 2005.
Ben Gvir and Smotrich are a development of a long-standing, openly violent strain of Zionism, starting with the pre-state terrorist groups Irgun and Lehi and continuing with the Kach Jewish terror group formed in 1971 which lasted through several guises for about 40 years. Ben Gvir and some other members of Otzma Yehudit used to be followers of Kach. The significance of Bern Gvir and Smotrich’s appointments is that what had been sotto voce in previous Israeli governments is now spoken loudly.
It has been evident for years that Israeli governments will not agree to end the occupation while they continue to have the benefit of favourable European and American treatment. It is even more evident now, We urge your government to finally put heavy pressure on the Israeli government, including the credible threat of suspending Israel’s tariff-free exports, until it agrees to negotiate an end to the occupation.
We hope to hear from you shortly to arrange a meeting.
Diplomatic and Parliamentary Officer.