Wednesday, 19 July 2006

Murder by Israel

On 22 November 2002, father-of two, Iain Hook, the head of a UN reconstruction project working in the Jenin refugee camp in Palestine, was murdered by a member of the Israeli Defence Force.

Iain, a former paratrooper and a senior manager for the U.N. Relief Works Agency, had been employed by Crown Agents and paid for by the British Department for International Development to head the Jenin project.

The Israeli army claimed, falsely, that their soldiers had been fired at by Palestinian gunmen within the compound and said the sniper mistook Iain for a fighter because he was carrying what appeared to be a gun, which turned out to be a mobile phone.

This account was patently ridiculous, not least because Iain was tall, had ginger hair and was clad in fluorescent UN clothing. He didn’t look the least little bit like your average Palestinian. Also, the sniper who shot Iain had a powerful telescope atop his rifle, he couldn’t fail to have known what Iain’s status was. One UN official said:
"No one believes the Israeli story that the sniper thought Iain was holding a gun. This soldier was a trained commando. He had a sight that magnified at least three times and he was only 20 metres away. What really concerns us is the lack of an apology and remorse. The message that goes out to every Israeli soldier is that it's OK to kill the UN."
A fortnight after Ian’s death, 64 UN foreign staff working in the occupied territories signed an open letter which blamed the Israeli army for Mr Hook's death and called for an end to what it described as the military's 'refusal to respect the most elementary standards of humanity.'
"We condemn the Israeli army in the strongest possible terms for its wanton act against an unarmed man… UN staff, international and Palestinian alike, have been verbally abused, stripped, beaten, shot at and killed by Israeli soldiers."
Senior UN officials tacitly approved the letter, hoping it would prevent a cover-up. Extraordinarily, it was decided that the UN inquiry would be carried out by John Logan, who is a former member of the US naval intelligence branch, not an organisation given to overmuch criticism of Israeli behaviour. His report generated so much criticism that it had to be rewritten. ‘A lot of people thought it was a whitewash,’ said one senior official.
"The investigator had what you might call a more than normal sympathy for Israel's point of view."
The Washington Post, a newspaper which has been owned by a Jewish family for over 50 years, reported Iain’s death thus:
"Israel Army Radio reported today that an initial investigation into Hook's death showed that an Israeli soldier had shot him as he came out of an alley from where Palestinian gunmen had been firing earlier, mistaking a cell phone he was carrying for a hand grenade. An army statement released later today said two soldiers fired at Hook inside the U.N. compound because he had an object that appeared to be a gun."
The Israelis also stated that their army sent an ambulance right away, but that when it arrived he was already dead.

However, Caoimhe Butterly, an Irishwoman working for the UN, said she saw Iain brought into a hospital alive, over an hour after he was shot. Caoimhe had been arrested by Israeli soldiers and taken to a place where she saw about twenty Palestinian men being beaten severely. This is how she described the events of that day.
"After I was interrogated, I asked permission to remain with the men, hoping to minimize the violence. When I refused to leave, I was forcibly dragged away, pulled down the road, and told that if I returned to the area I would be shot.

At the United Nations compound, I spoke briefly with Iain Hook, who said he was trying to negotiate with the soldiers for women and children to go home. He came out of the UN compound waving a blue UN flag, and the soldiers' only response was to broadcast with their microphone in English:
‘We don't care if you are the United Nations or who you are. F*** off and go home!’ He insisted that he wanted to provide safe passage for his forty Palestinian workers and himself using legal means.

After this, I met a group of children who told me that a ten-year-old friend of mine, Muhammad Bilalo, had been killed and three children had been wounded by tank fire, one of whom sustained brain damage. So I went to where the children were gathered, and the tanks were firing on them erratically. I implored them not to shoot live ammunition at unarmed children.

A soldier raised his upper body and his gun out of the hatch of the second vehicle and began shooting. I was shot in the thigh. When I fell they continued shooting in my direction. No ambulances were allowed into the camp, so I was carried on a makeshift stretcher to where a Red Crescent ambulance could reach me. While I was in the Emergency Room of Jenin Hospital, Iain Hook of UNRWA was brought in. He died a few minutes later.

Having been present in the Camp all morning, I can testify that any Palestinian fighters had stopped shooting a good two hours before either of us was wounded. When I passed the UN compound in the morning, it was surrounded by Israeli Army snipers and soldiers who were shooting erratically into the Camp. Two people were killed and six wounded. I was not caught up in any kind of crossfire as the Israeli Occupation Forces are falsely stating, and I don't believe that Iain was either."
So, you have a choice. You can believe what Israel says, or you can believe what Caoimhe says. For people like you and me there’s no choice to make. We know who the liars are. For people like Bush and Blair there’s no choice to make either. Truth means trouble.

One thing you can be certain of is this, Caoimhe Butterly will never be invited to a party by the likes of these.

On 2 of April 2005, The Socialist Worker reported thus:

"Tony Blair's government is involved in a cover-up over the killing of the British United Nations official Iain Hook, who was shot in the back by an Israeli soldier in 2002. Last week the foreign office flatly refused to release the information it holds on Iain’s death, saying this could damage relations with Israel…
Iain was shot as he stood in the UN compound at the West Bank town of Jenin in November 2002. The Israeli army forced an ambulance to wait for 25 minutes while Iain bled to death…

A UN source told Socialist Worker, 'It’s hardly surprising that the British government is reluctant to make clear the circumstance of Iain’s death. The UN itself has suppressed a report on his death. The government has refused to give out this information rather than upset the Israelis, even though Iain was a British citizen and an employee of the government.

The circumstances in which Iain was killed were quite straightforward. He was shot in the back after he had been on the phone to the Israelis for several hours trying to get his people safely out of the UNRWA compound. The Israelis claimed Palestinian fighters were in the compound. This was never the case. An Israeli soldier decided he was going to shoot Iain'."
David Heath, Conservative MP Somerton and Frome, mentioned Iain Hook several times in the Houses of Parliament and was critical of the Israeli security forces who killed him. On the 10 of December 2002, he said the following in the House of Commons:
"There is curfew, collective punishment and the reported refusal to allow Arafat into Bethlehem on the ground that he has damaged the position of the Christians in Palestine. I must say that he has not damaged their position nearly as much as the Israeli tanks have done. There is the shooting of innocent individuals, including members of the international community: I refer to the shooting of Iain Hook on 22 November.

Only yesterday in Gaza, Israeli security forces attacked a bus belonging to the United Nations Works and Relief Agency. All these factors create the circumstances in which terrorism thrives. That must be brought home to the Israeli Government, as must the fact that the western world cannot launch a consequential attack on those whom the Israelis identify as their enemies. Mr. Sharon must be disabused of the notion of a crusade. There will be no such crusade against Iraq, Iran or whoever is next on the list."
Just shows how wrong a trusting Tory can be, doesn’t it?

Andrew Robathan, Conservative MP for Blaby, also mentioned Iain several times in the Commons and was critical of the IDF. Ernie Ross, New Labour MP for Dundee West, mentioned him and was critical of the IDF. Peter Kilfoyle, New Labour MP for Liverpool Walton, also mentioned him and was also critical of the IDF.

Michael Ancram, Jack Straw, Hilary Benn and John Gummer, mentioned the death of Iain Hook in Parliament but were not critical of the IDF. Mike O’Brien, Bill Rammell and Clare Short, mentioned Iain Hook in the Houses of Parliament in response to questions.

No other MP ever mentioned Iain on the floor of the House, although John Austin tabled an EDM commemorating Iain Hook and criticising Israel.

Tony Blair never mentioned him.

On 11 April 2003, British student and photographer, Tom Hurndall was targeted and shot in the head by an Israeli Army sniper in the Palestinian town of Rafah.

After being in a coma for over nine months he finally died on 13 January 2004. Whilst doing his best to guide Palestinian children away from an area where Israeli soldiers in a nearby army watchtower were concentrating their fire, Tom deliberately placed himself between the children and that fire and was shot.

The Israeli army initially disputed this account, but under pressure from Tom's family and the British government it ordered a full investigation.

Anthony and Jocelyn Hurndall were in a British diplomatic convoy entering the town where their son had been injured, when another Israeli soldier, esconced in one of the watchtowers that overlook one of the many checkpoints, fired a shot which passed narrowly over the top of their vehicles. These were readily identifiable by their white diplomatic plates. Not until the defence attaché, Colonel Tom Fitzalan-Howard, had stepped from the car with his hands in the air was the convoy allowed to proceed.

The incident occurred despite the Israeli Army being given notice of the journey on at least three occasions, the last time just minutes before the convoy arrived.

Jocelyn said:
"Here we were, the parents and brother of someone who has been wounded by Israeli Defense Forces and who then fire a warning shot over our car for no apparent reason. It was a measure of the insanity that can take hold here."
This attack came just a few days after Israeli forces murdered James Miller, a freelance British journalist filming the demolition of Palestinian houses in Rafah.

Tom's parents was shocked by the lack of political reaction to her son's injuries and later death.

Anthony Hurndall said that Tony Blair’s goverment was tacitly condoning ing an Israeli cover-up, despite having promised there would be a full inquiry into the shooting of his son. He contrasted the UK's statement of support for Israel after a British-Asian suicide bombed a Tel Aviv bar, with its reaction to the shooting of UK nationals by Israeli soldiers. This is how he put it:
"I have expressed to the embassy strongly my unease at the fact that immediately following the bombing at the bar in Tel Aviv and the killing of three Israelis, the British government jumped to give a statement of support for Israelis and to freeze funds and make arrests. In contrast, the almost passive reaction of the British government at the shooting of three of its nationals in Israel is very disturbing…

There's an enormous difference between how the British reacted to British citizens' involvement in killing Israelis and the complete lack of cooperation and a complete silence over what happened to British nationals here."
Tom was with the same peace group as Rachel Corrie, who, whilst trying to prevent the IDF from destroying Palestinian homes, was run over by an Israeli bulldozer.

What follows is an edition of a speech made by Tom’s sister, Sophie, at the Palestine Rally in Trafalgar Square, which was held on the 17 of May 2003.
"As many of you may know Tom was shot while trying to save children from Israeli army fire… what Tom and we discovered during our separate visits to Israel and Gaza has caused us deep concern…

My brother Tom was… a caring human being. He travelled to Gaza because he had heard about human rights abuses taking place in the occupied territories and wanted see for himself the way in which Palestinians were living, and to photograph and document what he saw. Tom is now lying in hospital in Israel in a deep coma. His brain has suffered severe damage and the doctors have said he is unlikely to regain consciousness.

In the days before Tom was wounded he sent e-mails home detailing several incidents he had observed in which civilians had been shot by Israeli soldiers and also a helicopter attack in which 46 civilians were wounded, some of whom later died. Tom had already sent us photographs including one of a boy of about 7 or 8, who posed no threat, being shot from an Israeli tank. Tom was himself shot as he was trying to help a group of children.

Waiting at the end of a street in Rafa, he saw machine gun fire being directed at a mound of earth on which about twenty children were playing. Most of the children fled but three young children were too scared to move, two girls and a boy aged between 5 and 8. Tom walked forward and picked up the little boy, named Salem Baroum. Having brought Salem back to safety he returned for the second child. Tom was shot in the head by a single sniper bullet as he leant forward to pick up the little girl.

The IDF released reports that Tom was armed, clothed in army camouflage and firing at the soldiers. They have also released a report saying he was involved in crossfire. These reports have been reflected in media around the world, especially in Israel. These reports are not true. Many of you will have seen photographs of Tom in his fluorescent orange activists vest.

We have photographs of Tom immediately before and after the shooting - from several independent sources. There were over ten eye witness reports of Toms shooting including the accounts of journalists- all of which support the fact that Tom was fired at with no justification. But what is extraordinary is that to this day, not a single one of these witnesses has been questioned by the IDF or the Israeli authorities. How can any credible inquiry be conducted without questioning them? Indeed some of these witnesses have since been arrested, detained and unlawfully deported.

It was clear to all that Tom did not pose a threat to the Israeli army or to anyone else. He was with a humanitarian organization which was involved in peaceful protest and which was known by the army to be present in the immediate area at the time. He acted in a way which every decent human being should have seen as natural and necessary in going to the aid of a young helpless and desperately vulnerable group of children. Many of us would not have had the courage to do what Tom did. In return for his courage and selfless commitment, he is likely to have paid the ultimate price. Tom is the victim of a direct and deliberate shot to the head…

Our request for an explanation about the shooting is not unreasonable. My parents, my two other brothers and myself, have spent much of the last five weeks at Toms bedside in Israel, and also in Gaza trying to find answers.

In spite of numerous repeated requests during that time, through the British Embassy in Tel Aviv and the media, we have been bluntly refused an explanation from, or any communication with, the Israeli forces. My parents have even been shot at while travelling with British embassy officials in Gaza. They have now been refused entry unless they sign a waiver absolving the Israeli army of any responsibility if the army shoots at them as well.
Is that what freedom and democracy are in Israel?

My family is campaigning for an independent, public inquiry into Toms shooting. Not only for Tom, but because every day Palestinian civilians are maimed and killed by the Israeli army. Tom showed us this through the e-mails he sent home. Any act of violence - whether by Palestinian or by Israeli - should be subject to prosecution and a fair trial. Yet clearly this is not happening. It is absolutely unacceptable that innocent people continue to be killed or wounded - whether they are journalists, peace activists or other civilians. Yet an Israeli soldier is very unlikely even to be reprimanded for such outrageously heavy-handed tactics.

We cannot stand by silently and allow people like Tom and Rachel, Brian Avery, Iain Hook and James Miller to become such tragic victims. If we dont make a stand to make the Israeli government accountable for its actions, then there will be no end to this terrible loss of life in Palestine."
Because of the relentless pressure placed upon the British and Israeli government by the Hurndalls, Wahid Taysir was charged with Tom’s killing.

In June 2004, a Westminster cross party Parliamentary delegation visited the place in Rafah where Tom was shot. The IDF shot at them as well.

On the last day of the case, in May 2005, Taysir's defence team tried to place the blame for Tom's death on the medical team who cared for Tom when he got back to Britain. They asserted that doctors at the Royal Free Hospital were 'negligent,' even though he was effectively brain dead from the moment he was shot.

The cost of shipping Tom home to England in his comatose state came to over £17,000. The Israelis reimbursed the Hurndalls with a cheque for only £8,730. The cheque bounced.

In June, 2005, Sergeant Wahid Taysir was convicted of manslaughter at a military court in Ashkelon and sentenced to eight years imprisonment. Taysir was also found guilty of obstruction of justice, incitement to false testimony, false testimony and improper conduct. The court was told Taysir fired at Mr Hurndall from an Israeli army watchtower, using a sniper rifle with a telescopic sight.

Tom's sister Sophie said she felt a 'huge amount of anger' towards Taysir. 'Tom was rescuing a child,' she said, adding that what Taysir did 'was the most despicable action you could carry out.' But she added:
"He's been hung out to dry by the Israeli army who have not taken responsibility for the poor investigation and absolute lack of accountability."
Tom's father expressed concern about the 'culture in which this incident took place' and added:
"We're concerned that there is a policy which seems to be prevalent in Gaza, amongst the Israeli soldiers and army, that they feel able to shoot civilians really without any accountability whatsoever."
All of the above is purely cosmetic exercise.

If the outside pressure builds up to an extent whereby it is not possible for the Israeli authorities to sweep the matter under the carpet without criticism, soldiers such as Taysir will receive a token sentence which will be served at something the Israelis will call a prison but is, in actual fact, a glorified holiday camp. The Israelis do not punish their 'heroes.'

In June 2005, Civil liberties group Human Rights Watch accused Israel of investigating less than 5 per cent of hundreds of cases of Palestinians killed since 2000.

Chris Mullin and Mike O'Brien mentioned Tom in the Houses of Parliament in response to a question and David Cameron referred to him indirectly.

Jeremy Corbyn introduced two EDMs commemorating him into the House of Commons. Richard Burden, Anne Campbell, Peter Hain, Brian Jenkins, Parmjit Dhanda and Nick Harvey mentioned Tom in parliament and were critical of Israel in doing so.

Tony Blair never mentioned Tom Hurndall in the House of Commons.

Only Richard Burden and Mike O’Brien mentioned Rachel Corrie on the floor of the House and O’Brien only mentioned her in response to a question from Mr. Burden. There were, however, five Early Day Motions tabled commemorating her and criticising Israel.

On 2 May 2003, British journalist, cameraman, film-maker and father-of-two, James Miller, was murdered in the Palestinian town of Rafah.

When James set to work making the documentary 'Death in Gaza,' a film intended to demonstrate the effect of Israel state terrorism on Palestinian children, he did not realise he would be documenting his own death at the hands of an Israeli soldier.

Before the IDF realised the incident had been filmed, they categorically stated that James’ death was caused by crossfire. However, as the killing was caught on camera by an Associated Press film crew, they were forced reluctantly to institute a military police investigation in August.

James was approaching an armoured personnel carrier, carrying a white flag which he shone a torch upon, wearing a white helmet and clothing clearly highlighted with media representative markings clearly designating him as a non-combatant.

He was calling out to the occupants of the vehicle, announcing his status as a British journalist and asking them for permission to leave the area when two shots were fired. The second bullet struck him in the neck, the only unprotected part of his body.

The Israeli soldier had lined James up in his telescopic sights from less than 50 yards away and had, undoubtedly, noted his body armour, protective helmet and the fluorescent markings which clearly designated him as a journalist. It was the cold-blooded murder of a defenceless non-combatant.

In November 2003, BBC journalist, John Sweeney, had this to say about his friend and the events of that evening:
"James Miller was a cameraman on the side of the underdog… On 2 May this year he was shot dead by an Israeli soldier in Rafah, in the occupied Gaza Strip…

On the last evening of filming he walked out of a house with his reporter Saira Shah and his fixer Aboud. It was night. They were seeking parley with an Israeli armoured personnel carrier to gain permission to leave the border hot zone without being shot at.

James was shining a torch onto a white flag. A first shot rang out. The team froze. By chance, the team were being filmed by an agency stringer from APTN. The videotape proves that there is no crossfire. They were wearing helmets and flak jackets littered with TV signs. They did not look like Islamic terrorists. The Israeli army has, thanks to the Americans, some of the best night vision technology in the world. Their kit turns nights into day.

Thirteen seconds later a second shot rings out. James was shot in the front of his neck by an Israeli bullet and was mortally wounded. He died soon after...

What gives cause for grave concern is that James' is not the only incident in Rafah… Rachel Corrie, a young American peace activist, was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer. No Israeli soldier has been charged with misconduct.

A month later British photographer and peace activist Tom Hurndall was shot in the head by an Israeli soldier… We showed the APTN film of James' shooting to a serving Israeli soldier. He said: ‘That's murder’."
James’ wife Sophie, said:
"James' family and myself won't rest until his killers are brought to justice and we will pursue it relentlessly."
More than a year after James’ death, she complained that Jack Straw had promised to pursue a transparent inquiry, which, over a year later, had still not come to fruition. She said:
"I've asked him to honour that pledge. We are disappointed with the lack of actual action that this government has taken."
Sophie said it was hard to believe no one had yet been found responsible for the killing.
"We are very frustrated with a very long process. A year is a very long time to wait. It does feel as if we have to push all the time to get the answers from Israel, where we've always asked for a thorough, full and transparent process."
She is concerned that she will be denied access to the heart of the report and that no firm date has been given for its release.

In April 2005, 'Lieutenant H,' the Israeli soldier accused of shooting James, was cleared of any wrongdoing. Earlier a military judge had also dismissed disciplinary proceedings, acquitting the soldier of 'misusing his firearm.' No action will be taken against him.

Last month a judge ruled that the soldier accused of discharging his weapon at the time of the incident could not be proved beyond doubt to have killed Mr Miller. British Foreign Office Minister Baroness Symons said:
"I was very shocked and saddened to hear that the disciplinary proceedings that followed the Israel Defence Forces investigation into James Miller's death have ended this way".
What will this 'shocked' and 'saddened' teletubbie do about it, do you think? Sweet FA.

Tony Blair never mentioned the death of James Miller in the House of Commons. Nick Harvey mentioned him in the House and was explicitly critical of the IDF, who killed him.

Brian Jenkins and Parmjit Dhanda mentioned James and asked the government to press the Israeli Government to conduct an independent, public and judicial inquiry. Chris Mullin mentioned James in the Houses of Parliament in response to a question. No other MP ever mentioned him in the House.

No EDM was ever introduced into parliament commemorating James Miller.

The British and Israeli governments have still not made any of their findings known.

On 27 November 2002, John Austin tabled the following EDM:
"This House condemns the killing of Iain Hook, a UN worker, by the Israeli army in Jenin on Friday 22nd November, and the shooting of Caoimhe Butterly; sends its sincere condolences to Mr Hook's family and friends; notes that this is yet another example of the indiscriminate use of force by the Israeli army and that proper access to medical services was once again denied; welcomes the Foreign Secretary's call for a full inquiry into these events; and calls upon Israel to adhere to international humanitarian law and to respect the sanctity of UN locations and workers".
On 18 March 2003, Llew Smith tabled the following EDM:
"This House condemns the terrorist murder by the Israeli Army of American peace activist Rachel Corrie by driving a bulldozer over her when she was trying to stop the Israeli invaders from destroying the homes of Palestinians; congratulates the activists with the International Solidarity Movement, with whom Ms Corrie was working, for its support of Palestinians against the illegal activities of Israel in Palestinian territories; sends its condolences to Ms Corrie's family, and to the families of all Palestinians and Israelis killed in the continuing conflict; and calls upon Her Majesty's Government to make representations to the Government of Israel over the murder of Ms Corrie and thousands of Palestinians over the past two years".

On 26 March 2003, Richard Burden tabled the following EDM:
"This House registers its concern that on 20th March, Eric Hawanith, from Chicago, was shot in the chest by rubber bullets fired by Israeli security services in Nablus; notes that, following the death of Rachel Corrie under the wheels of an Israeli bulldozer, Mr Hawanith is the second US citizen in a week to have been injured by Israeli forces whilst protesting against the actions of the Israeli Government in the Occupied Territories; and calls on the USA both rapidly to publish the Quartet Roadmap for peace in the Middle East, and to take assertive action to achieve a just settlement, implementing UN resolutions, and respecting the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians to security and independent statehood".
On the same day, Richard Burden tabled the following EDM:

"This House welcomes the call by US congressman Jim McDermott on 18th March for a full inquiry into the death of an unarmed US citizen, Rachel Corrie, who was run over by an armoured bulldozer driven by a member of the Israeli security services on 16th March whilst she was protesting at the destruction of Palestinian homes in Gaza; and agrees with Congressman McDermott who said: 'What we must find out is important: how could a brightly dressed women with a bullhorn have failed to be seen by the bulldozer driver? What orders are the drivers given? How are they trained? What are their rules of engagement with protesters?"

On 19 June 2003, Jeremy Corbyn tabled the following EDM:
"This House notes the shooting of 21-year-old Tom Hurndall whilst helping Palestinian children escape gunfire from an Israel army watchtower in Rafah, Gaza; calls on Israel to conduct a full military police inquiry into the incident; supports the cals from Tom Hurndall's family for the Israeli military advocate-general to start a prosecution against the Israeli commander who fired the bullet; and sends its support to the family of Tom, who is in a coma at the Royal Free Hospital from where he is not expected to recover".
On 5 January 2004, Richard Burden tabled the following EDM:
"This House expresses its concern at the threatened demolition of the Peace House, Beit Arabiya, in the village of Anata in the occupied West Bank on land owned by Salim and Arabiya Shawamreh; notes that Beit Arabiya is dedicated to the memories of US peace activist, Rachel Corrie and Nuha Sweiden, a Palestinian, both of whom died during demolition of homes by Israeli troops; further notes that houses built by the Shawamreh family on the Anata site have been destroyed by the Israeli authorities on four previous occasions in five years, sometimes with less than one hour's notice being given to the family; pays tribute to the Shawamreh family and the Palestinian, Israeli and international volunteers who have rebuilt the house on each occasion; further notes that around 100,000 Palestinian homes have been destroyed by Israel during the occupation at the same time as illegal settlements have been subsidised and expanded; further notes that such actions are contrary to Israel's obligations under international law and undermine the cause of peace; and calls on the United Kingdom Government to make urgent representations to Israel to halt both the destruction of Beit Arabiya and its policy of house demolition in the Occupied Territories".
On 6 July 2004, Richard Burden tabled the following EDM:
"This House applauds the launch of the Tom Hurndall Foundation following Tom's death earlier this year after he was shot by an Israeli Defence Force (IDF) soldier in Rafah whilst protecting Palestinian children from gunfire; welcomes the coinciding visit of Craig, Cindy and Sarah Corrie, family of Rachel Corrie, whowas killed by an IDF bulldozer on 16th March 2003; notes the content of concurrent Resolution 111 in the US House of Representatives expressing sympathy for Rachel's death in Rafah in the Gaza strip and calling on the US Administration to ensure that those responsible for her death are brought to justice and that an incident of this kind is not repeated; abhors the IDF's continued use of force and the practice of firing upon witnesses visiting Palestine; and calls upon Her Majesty's Government to make representations to the Israeli Government about the gravity of these incidents and the urgent need for immediate peace talks".
In all, 7 EDMs were tabled by backbench MPs which mentioned the deaths of Iain Hook, Tom Hurndall and Rachel Corrie. Now what kind of person do you think, if they happened to be a backbench MP, would not affix their signatures to the EDMs which mention such calculated brutality as this? What manner of backbencher would not wish to signal their displeasure with an Israeli system that routinely murdered British citizens who were posing no threat to anyone at the time they were killed?

Let's spotlight some of those who did not sign any of these EDMs.

Tony Banks, John Bercow, Peter Bradley, Louise Ellman, Michael Fabricant, Paul Goodman, Fabian Hamilton, Evan Harris, Julian Lewis, Goodman, Hamilton, Anthony Steen, Gerald Kaufman and Gerry Steinberg were all on the back benches when the EDMs above were tabled and, thus, could have signed them. Did the fact that they are all Jewish influence their decision not to put their signature to EDMs so critical of Israel?

Well, Tony Banks signed 16 of about 110 EDMs and their amendments, introduced since New Labour came to power, which were explicitly or implicitly critical of Israel in particular or Jewish behaviour in general, so, whilst we can demand to know why he did not sign the above, perhaps we ought not to accuse him of bias. Gerald Kaufman signed 8 of the EDMs critical of Israel so, albeit it would be interesting to know why he, also, remained silent and uncritical of such brutish Israeli behaviour, we better leave him alone as well.

However, Bercow, Bradley, Ellman, Fabricant, Lewis, Goodman, Hamilton, Julian Lewis, Steen and Steinberg have never signed an EDM critical of Israel, Evan Harris signed just two and Fabian Hamilton just one. Up to the time of the 2005 election, Louise Ellman had signed 25 pro-Jewish/Israeli EDMs; Julian Lewis 16; Fabricant, Bradley and Harris 10; Steinberg 9; Hamilton 6; Bercow and Steen had signed 5 and Goodman 4.

So, Louise Ellman, signed 25 of 50 or so EDMs and their amendments which sympathised with or offered congratulations to Israel in particular or Jewish behaviour in general but she did not sign one of the 110 or so which were critical. Whose side is Louise Ellman on, do you think? Is she on the side of the Brits who elected her? Or does she put her tribal allegiances ahead of her duty to and care of the country and the people she is supposed to serve?

You decide.

Whilst were on the subject, let’s have a look at some of those non-Jews who chose not to criticise the inexcusable when such behaviour was of Jewish origin. This list shows those MPs who signed many more of the 50 or so EDMs which demonstrated a postitive affinity for all things Israeli or Jewish than the 110 or so which were critical.

The first figure in brackets denotes the pro-Jewish/Israeli number of EDMs signed up to the 2005 General Election, the latter figure denotes the number of anti-Jewish/Israeli EDMs signed.

New Labour: Rudi Vis (32-9) Andrew Dismore (32-0) Linda Perham (20-0) Mike Gapes (17-1) Ashok Kumar, (13-4) Nick Palmer (12-0) Gwyneth Dunwoody (12-0) Jane Griffiths, (11-4) Joan Humble (10-0) Stephen Twigg (9-0) Barry Gardiner (7-0) Donald Anderson (6-0)

Conservative: Bob Spink (16-0) Sydney Chapman (11-0) James Clappison (10-0) Jonathan Djanogly (8-0) Nigel Evans (7-0) Andrew Rosindell (7-0) Teddy Taylor (7-0) David Amess (7-1) Gillian Shephard (6-0) Edward Garnier (6-0) James Luff (6-0) Tim Loughton (6-0)

Liberal Democrats: Alan Beith (6-1)

Ulster Unionist Party: Roy Beggs (17-1) Martin Smyth (16-1) Sylvia Hermon (10-0)

Of the 28 MPs mentioned above only David Amess ever signed any of the three EDMs which mentioned the crimes committed by the IDF against the Englishmen, Tom Hurndall and Iain Hook.

In all, of those 278 MPs who signed at least one of the six Early Day Motions introduced prior to the 2004-5 parliamentary session, which condemned the 'suicide bombers in Israel,' congratulated 'the State of Israel on its 50th Anniversary,' and commended 'Holocaust Memorial Day;' 183 of them did not sign any of the seven EDMs mentioning Rachel Corrie, Iain Hook and Tom Hurndall.

Most specifically, of those 278 MPs who signed at least one pro-Israel/pro-Jewish EDM, who could have signed an EDM mentioning the calculated shootings of Britons Tom Hurndall and Iain Hook, 189 chose not to do so.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I reckon I’m entitled to know why 189 MPs, who seem entirely happy to sign Early Day Motions congratulating or sympathising with an Israel whose armed forces are prepared to murder innocent British people with impunity, are not then moved to sign Early Day Motions similarly sympathetic to those Britons who were murdered.

What follows is complete list of these 189 MPs:

New Labour: Irene Adams, Donald Anderson, Candy Atherton, Hugh Bayley, Nigel Beard, Joe Benton, Clive Betts, Bob Blizzard, Keith Bradley, Peter Bradley, Kevin Brennan, Russell Brown, Karen Buck, Colin Burgon, Andy Burnham, Ivor Caplin, David Chaytor, Helen Clark, Tom Clarke, Tony Clarke, Vernon Coaker, Frank Cook, David Crausby, Jim Cunningham, Claire Curtis-Thomas, David Wayne, Geraint Davies, Hilton Dawson, Andrew Dismore, Brian Donohoe, Frank Doran, Angela Eagle, Maria Eagle, Huw Edwards, Clive Efford, Louise Ellman, Jeff Ennis, Paul Farrelly, Frank Field, Michael John Foster, Mike Gapes, Barry Gardiner, Ian Gibson, Roger Godsiff, Paul Goggins, Jane Griffiths, John Grogan, Fabian Hamilton, Mark Hendrick, Stephen Hepburn, Stephen Hesford, David Heyes, Jimmy Hood, George Howarth, Lindsay Hoyle, Joan Humble, Alan Hurst, Helen Jones, Kevan Jones, Martyn Jones, Piara Khabra, Andy King, Askok Kumar, David Lepper, Tom Levitt, Ivan Lewis, Julian Lewis, Tony Lloyd, Ian Luke, Calum Macdonald, Judy Mallaber, John Mann, Gordon Marsden, John McFall, Ann McKechin, Tony McNulty, John McWilliam, Austin Mitchell, Laura Moffatt, Jim Murphy, Doug Naysmith, Edward O'Hara, Bill Olner, Martin O'Neill, Diana Organ, Sandra Osborne, Nick Palmer, Linda Perham, Anne Picking, Peter Pike, Greg Pope, Gordon Prentice, Gwyn Prosser, James Purnell, Joyce Quin, Lawrie Quinn, Bill Rammell, Syd Rapson, Andrew Reed, John Robertson, Malcolm Savidge, Barry Sheerman, Jim Sheridan, Sion Simon, Dennis Skinner, Geraldine Smith, Gerry Steinberg, George Stevenson, David Stewart, Paul Stinchcombe, Mark Tami, Gareth Thomas, Dennis Turner, Derek Twigg, Stephen Twigg, Bill Tynan, Rudi Vis, Joan Walley, Tom Watson, Dave Watts, Malcolm Wicks, Alan Williams, David Winnick, Mike Wood, Shaun Woodward, Tony Worthington, Jimmy Wray, Anthony D Wright, David Wright.

Conservative: David Atkinson, John Bercow, Graham Brady, Julian Brazier, John Butterfill, David Cameron, Sydney Chapman, James Clappison, Jonathan Djanogly, Gwyneth Dunwoody, Nigel Evans, Michael Fabricant, Howard Flight, Edward Garnier, James Gray, Matthew Green, Nick Hawkins, Andrew Hunter, Michael Jack, Boris Johnson, Julie Kirkbride, Andrew Lansley, Oliver Letwin, Julian Lewis, Tim Loughton, Peter Luff, Andrew Mitchell, George Osborne, John Randall, Marion Roe, Andrew Rosindell, Gillian Shephard, Robert Smith, Bob Spink, Anthony Steen, Desmond Swayne, Robert Syms, John Taylor, Teddy Taylor, Anne Widdecombe, John Wilkinson.

Liberal Democrats: Alan Beith, Patsy Calton, Menzies Campbell, Alan Carmichael, Evan Harris, Paul Holmes, Lembit Opik, John Pugh.
Democratic Unionists: Gregory Campbell, Nigel Dodds, Jeffrey Donaldson, Ian Paisley.

Ulster Unionists: Roy Beggs, Sylvia Hermon, Martin Smyth.

Scottish Nationalists: Annabelle Ewing, Angus Robertson.

Independent: Richard Taylor.

And remember, folks, not one of the 800 or so MPs who could have introduced an EDM mentioning the death British cameraman, James Miller, ever did so.

I don’t think I care for these people. I don’t think they have our best interests at heart. I have this feeling that their generosity and desire to please is focused elsewhere on the planet. What do you think?

What I do know is this. Almost all the MPs named above are signed up members of the various parliamentary groups that describe themselves as 'Friends of Israel.'

The kind of 'friendship' for Israel and all things Jewish displayed by so many of our MPs, which never thinks to condemn even the most terrible crimes committed against our own, is a 'friendship' that should be investigated with maximum rigour. Whose side are they on? Tom Hurndall’s? Iain Hook’s? James Miller’s? Not according to the evidence I have just put before you.

One last thing: Iain Hook, Tom Hurndall and James Miller were all native Englishmen. None of them were homosexual. Of all of those 189 MPs who could have signed an EDM mentioning Tom Hurndall and Iain Hook and did not bother to introduce one sympathising with James Miller, more than 100 of them were not heterosexual, English men of the wholly Anglo-British variety.

Conspiracy? Maybe not. I just tend to think that, if the English man was represented in parliament, by parliamentarians exactly similar to him in blood, origin, culture, religion and sexuality, there would be more chance that those in power would give a damn what he felt and thought.

P.S. In an arena where it is almost unheard of to condemn Jewish brutality in a forthright manner, Nick Harvey was very brave when, on 2 November 2004, he said this in the Commons:
"As recently as 21 October 2004, The Guardian reported that a 13-year-old schoolgirl wearing her school uniform while walking into Israel's forbidden zone at the bottom of her street carrying her satchel was shot. The schoolgirl was several hundred metres from the Israeli watchtower.

Two shots caught her in the leg. She dropped her bag, tried to hobble away and fell. Even some Israeli soldiers described the platoon commander moving in closer to put two bullets in the child's head.

An Israeli soldier told the newspaper: ‘The company commander approached her, shot two bullets into her, walked back towards the force, turned back to her, switched his weapon to automatic and emptied his entire magazine into her. We were in shock. We couldn't believe what he was doing. Our hearts ached for her. Just a girl of 13’… That shows that, in some units, Israeli army commanders are out of control".
Why is it, do you think, that our parliamentarians, particularly those towards the top of the greasy pole, are so desperate to pander to such people?

When you've figured that one out, ladies and gents, you'll be ready to go to war with those who are, whether you know it or not, at war with you.

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