Regarding the article "The Quest for Peace in the Middle East continues" in last week's Redbrick. We support freedom of speech including for deceitful propaganda like that piece; this response is just to maintain some balance.
Regarding "one of the most controversial issues engulfing the conflict: West Bank settlements", in 2004 the International Court of Justice issued a ruling on many aspects of the Israel-Palestine conflict, and all fifteen judges agreed the settlements are illegal. Security Council resolution 465 (passed with a vote of 15-0) determined that the settlements 'constitute a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention' and called on them to be dismantled. The Red Cross, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch have all issued statements declaring the settlements illegal. In fact, one would struggle to find a less controversial issue in international affairs; yet Israel and its apologists pretend there exists some kind of controversy, depicting an illegal occupation as merely a 'dispute' by two sides with equally legitimate claims. We advise readers to check the facts for themselves and see who's telling the truth.
On the "unprecendented" 10-month settlement moratorium, we advise readers to enter 'Maariv feature documents "settlement freeze" sham' into Google, where they'll find Israel's main newspaper reporting that settlement building continued throughout this 'moratorium'.
On Israel making 'the painful concession of uprooting settlements in Gaza', we'd ask readers to ponder whether to stop committing a flagrant violation of the Geneva Conventions legitimately constitutes a 'painful concession'. We'd also advise readers to enter "Dov Weisglass interview with Haaretz - "The Big Freeze"" into Google, where they'll find its architect explaining that rather than being a 'painful concession' for peace, the objective was "the freezing of the peace process... When you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state."
Regarding a Palestinian state 'not confined to the pre-1967 borders' being 'the only real way' to resolve the conflict. Considering that the international community (bar Israel and the US) in the UN General Assembly has long agreed to settle the Israel-Palestinian conflict by a full Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders (i.e. its legal borders); that since 2002 all twenty-two Arab states signed the Arab Peace Initiative offering full peace with Israel for a withdrawal to the 1967 borders; that all fifty-seven Islamic states (including Iran) have agreed to support this initative; that all major Palestinian factions (including Hamas, enter "Hamas renews offer to end fight if Israel withdraws" into Google for Hamas' position) have offered to end the conflict if Israel would withdraw to the 1967 borders; we advise readers to question whether supporting Israel's refusal to join the rest of humanity really is "the only real way" to resolve the conflict.
We call upon all students wanting an end to the conflict to take a principled stance against fake 'negotiations' with unelected Palestinian collaborators and demand that Israel withdraw from Occupied Palestinian Territory; and to demand the British government put its official positions into action and cease assisting Israeli crimes with arms deals, preferential trade agreements and dealing in illegal settlement goods.
University of Birmingham Friends of Palestine Society
* This letter was published on page 14 of the 29th October 2010 edition of Redbrick and was written in response to THIS article.