By Stuart Littlewood – London
Unable to attend the Viva Palestina convoy send-off in London, I watched video footage of the occasion with tears in my eyes.
Here at last were people of courage and moral backbone… a dying breed in Britain, I had thought. How easily they put our leaders to shame.
The political leadership in London still dances to Israel’s tune in spite of that regime’s never-ending crimes. It is no use looking to them for honest action. A humanitarian response to Gaza has never crossed their mind. They are, after all, the friends of land thieves and racist aggressors.
Yes, our parliamentary poseurs know which side their bread is buttered on, and they lean over backwards to avoid displeasing the lawless plunderers of the Holy Land.
The driving force behind the 120-vehicle relief convoy is MP George Galloway. “This is not the British élite," he said, referring to the men and women setting out on this 5000-mile mercy trip. "This is the poor people from poor places, this is the salt of the earth. And I’m very, very proud of them. Every one of these vehicles represents a community."
As Galloway explains, there are two columns heading for Gaza. "One is Gordon Brown’s navy, which is going to defend Israel. The other column is going to support Palestine. I know which column I would rather be in."
Already six European leaders – including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and our very own British Prime Minister Gordon Brown – have pledged ships, troops and technology for anti-smuggling operations against Palestine. "We will do everything that we can to prevent the arms trafficking that is at the root of some of the problems that have caused the conflict," Mr. Brown said, offering the services of the Royal Navy.
Should the Royal Navy be used to block the right of a legitimate government and its people to defend itself against an invader and illegal occupier? Who is going to stop arms reaching the terrorist regime of Israel? Mr. Brown advertises his ignorance and endorses Israeli propaganda lies if he thinks arms trafficking is a root cause of the conflict.
"In any moral situation the whole world would be airlifting aid to Gaza," says Galloway. Exactly. The whole world’s inaction shows how the community of nations has lost its moral compass and is led by cowards. But ordinary people haven’t lost theirs. And they have grit. That’s because ordinary folk are not bought and paid for. They retain their integrity.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says border crossings with Gaza will not be fully opened until the captured Israeli soldier Corporal Gilad Shalit (promoted to sergeant in his absence) is freed. Should Palestinians be expected to release a trained killer while Israel holds many thousands of Palestinian civilians prisoner, a large number of them without charge?
Looking back, there was a time when our navy would have been ordered to land humanitarian supplies on Gaza’s beaches, not connive with terrorists to keep Gaza sealed off from the outside world and beat up Palestinian boats bringing in much needed defensive weapons.
Every day since the cowardly blitzkrieg on Gaza ended Israel has carried out further death-dealing air strikes while its soldiers snipe at farmers and sea patrols continue to fire on Gazan fishing boats. Now comes news that Israel has reduced the fishing limit off the coast of Gaza from six miles to just three. The Olso peace agreement guaranteed that Palestinians could fish for 20 nautical miles, but Israel as usual rides roughshod over international laws and agreements.
I have written to my MP requesting him to ask the Foreign Office minister when Britain and the international community are going to uphold maritime law and stop allowing Israel to make a mockery of established codes of conduct. But I long ago gave up hope of our government doing the right thing.
Meanwhile God speed the convoy.
– Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. For further information please visit www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.