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Kevin McCarthy’s letter of April 13 completely misses the point and mischaracterises the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign.
It has been in existence for more than ten years and is not in response to one incident of murder by the Israeli military, but rather thousands. Israeli forces have killed 2,000 Palestinian children, wounded 13,000, and jailed 12,000 since 2000 — such murders are not isolated incidents.
The BDS call comes from Palestinian civil society and is also in response to Israel’s policies of occupation, ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and siege.
As to the laughable claim that the Israeli army is a moral army, numerous reports from human rights groups refute this. Regarding the assault on Gaza in 2014, an Amnesty International and Forensic Architecture report cited “strong evidence” of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity by said military.
The soldier in question, who was filmed shooting the helpless Abed al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif, has had his charge reduced to manslaughter. Despite video evidence, the judge found the situation inconclusive. The soldier, having received much political and public support, is already out of prison and on an army base. Indeed it is rare that a soldier is prosecuted for the killing of a Palestinian. According to Israeli human rights organisation Yeah Din, only in 2.5% of cases where a Palestinian was killed by the Israeli military between 2000 and 2014 was a criminal investigation opened, with only seven resulting in convictions.
Therefore the condemnation from NGOs, the UN, Palestinians, and solidarity groups is not just for this murder, but for the long-standing Israeli army policy of extrajudicial executions.
It is notable that the letter writer, like the Israeli army, eschews due process and has decided on the ‘guilt’ of the Palestinian man, completely outside any judicial process.
Israel’s settlements are illegal, this is a fact well established in international law, and Jericho is in occupied territory, hence the occupier is obliged under the fourth Geneva Convention to supply its needs, electricity, and otherwise, something not happening in Gaza where Israel’s siege means the population is deprived of power for up to 20 hours per day.
Desmond Tutu said: “if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” The BDS movement is a powerful means by which Palestinian people and their supporters can resist such injustice, oppression, and impunity. It is something to be proud of.
Co-ordinator Gaza Action Ireland
South Circular Rd, Limerick
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