Saturday, 25 June 2011

The Fatuous "Freedom" Flotilla

DEAR SIR,

What exactly is the point of Alice Walker’s decision to participate in the “Freedom Flotilla II” (‘Alice Walker: Why I’m joining the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza’, 25 June)? She says that her ship, The Audacity of Hope, will carry only letters “expressing solidarity and love” for the people of Gaza. Does Ms Walker not realise that letters are not proscribed under the Israeli blockade?

JACOB CAMPBELL, York
Press Officer, UKIP Friends of Israel

Friday, 24 June 2011

UKIP FOI One Year Anniversary Newsletter Needs YOUR Submissions

In the near feature, UKIP FOI is going to be distributing a newsletter in light of our one year anniversary since we were launched at the 2010 Autumn Conference.

If you would like to submit an article, please send it attached to an email to ukipfriendsofisrael@gmail.com

Best,

Julian,
Director

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Arab Spring Is Bad News for Israel

On Tuesday I attended a talk given by Professor Benny Morris at a House of Commons Select Committee Room. Benny Morris had been invited to speak by the Henry Jackson Society on the subject of the implications for Israel of the so-called’ Arab Spring’. Benny Morris is a leading Israeli historian and a Professor of Middle eastern History at Ben-Gurion University in Israel as well as the Kennedy-Leigh Fellow at the Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Oxford University. He has written a number of bestselling books and his articles have appeared in numerous newspapers and journals.

The Select Committee room hosting the event was dotted with MPs and Peers who had slipped into the event to hear Morris’s views on the escalating revolutionary situation in the Arab World.

Morris proposed two chief consequences of the Arab Spring for Israel, both negative. First, Israel would suffer as a result of international attention being directed away from Iran and towards the Arab world. Morris proposes that the particular form of Islam adopted by the Iranian leadership is so extreme that any success for Iran in achieving nuclear weapons would be absolutely fatal for Israel. If the West continue to concentrate on Libya, Syria and other such countries undergoing revolution and does not focus sufficiently on Iran, a nuclear war could be a serious possibility.

Second, Morris suggested that the Arab Spring will bring a more severe threat to the existence of Israel from the neighbouring Arab countries which undergo revolution. Although countries like Egypt and Syria appear to be under the influence of democratic transformers, the likelihood is that any elections will give new power to extremist groups, notably the Muslim Brotherhood. This is the umbrella organisation which is made up of groups such as Hamas, the internationally recognised terrorist organisation in control of the Gaza strip.

Thus, the Arab Spring poses two new severe threats to the existence of Israel. Morris did also highlight the need for Israel to be strong in offering a two-state solution and show the international community Israel wants peace.

However, for me at least, the fundamental conclusion of Morris’s speech must have been that the future of Israel depends upon Western intervention and pressure on the region to prevent the success of extremists, particularly in Iran, but also in the rest of the Arab world.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Renouncing the Oslo Accords - who whom?

DEAR SIR,

You report that, in the event of a UN vote on Palestinian statehood, Israel will retaliate by renouncing the 1993 Oslo Accords and all agreements signed thereafter (‘Israel warns Palestinians all deals are off if UN vote goes ahead’, 17 June). In the same way that your report also mentions that the negotiations of last September failed “after Israel refused to extend a temporary and partial freeze on settlement construction”, Israel is unfairly portrayed as the stubborn child who throws its toys out of the pram at the slightest provocation.

The explicit intention of the Oslo Accords was that any future peace settlements between Israel and the Palestinians would be arrived at “through the agreed political process” – that is, through bilateral negotiations. If the Palestinians go ahead with their bid for statehood at the UN, it is they who will be renouncing the Oslo Accords, not Israel. So when Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel would “no longer be committed” to past agreements, it was a statement of fact, not a threat.

JACOB CAMPBELL, York
Press Officer, UKIP Friends of Israel