Tag Archives: ismail haniya

Israel’s “beautiful resistance” to suicide bombers: A response to St James’s Church Rector Lucy Winkett

St James’s Church’s Rector Lucy Winkett’s defence of her church’s installation of a replica of Israel’s security wall in a piece for The Guardian is a legal and moral failure.

First the legal side. She states that Israel’s wall is “illegal under international law”. It is incredible that so many non-lawyers (and a few actual lawyers) state this with such ease when there is little proper evidence of such “illegality”.

Rector Winkett is relying on the 2004 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice. A frame repeatedly projected on to St James’s Church’s replica wall states “In 2004, the International Court of Justice in The Hague stated the Wall was illegal and it should be dismantled.”

But an advisory opinion is just that; advisory and an opinion. It sets no legal precedent.

Even if Israel’s wall was “illegal” there is the legal argument of self-defence. If I used illegal means to stop someone killing me I would be guilty of nothing more than self-defence. In parallel with this Israel’s wall has stopped Palestinian suicide bombers killing Israeli civilians.

There are legal opinions for and against Israel’s security wall, but for Rector Winkett to declare the wall “illegal under international law” makes a mockery of her claim in The Guardian that “we are not ‘pro’ one side or another”.

On the moral side Rector Winkett derides as “irresponsible” those who claim “we are aligning ourselves with those who support the Holocaust, suicide bombings or that we are antisemitic”.

But Rector Winkett’s wish for Israel’s security wall to come down will encourage suicide bombers sent by the likes of Islamist terror group Hamas to resume their murder of Israeli civilians, including those living on the West Bank, which the building of the wall has successfully disrupted.

The Hamas Charter specifically calls for the murder of Jews, so, yes, Hamas does support the Holocaust, suicide bombings and is blatantly antisemitic.

And then there are the organisations that St James’s Church has expressly aligned itself with for Bethlehem Unwrapped.

Rector Winkett writes that St James’s is supporting “a peaceful Palestinian principle known as ‘beautiful resistance’; expressed in theatres, music projects…”.

Sami Awad, director of the Holy Land Trust, might believe in “beautiful resistance” but that doesn’t exclude a belief in violence. Awad is on record as saying that such non-violent resistance “is not a substitute for the armed struggle.”

Incidentally, all net proceeds from Bethlehem Unwrapped go to the Holy Land Trust. (That is should there be any net proceeds, the cost of the 12 day replica wall installation being an incredible £30,000.)

Meanwhile, recent news footage shows Interpal’s primary trustee Essam Mustafa with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

And War On Want and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions are part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, a movement that campaigns for Israel’s destruction.

Rector Winkett writes in her Guardian piece that all viewpoints are listened to without exception and that visitors have been allowed to write a prayer or message of peace on the wall and that anything offensive has been immediately removed. She also writes that most conversations have been respectful.

Sadly, many have not been. A woman going in to St James’s Church for Bethlehem Unwrapped’s comedy evening responded to a question about the Holocaust with “What Holocaust?” A supporter of Israel was called a “friggin Jew” and “quenelle 4 ever” appeared on the replica wall (see middle of replica wall below written in blue):

wallquenelle

Rector Winkett also writes that people have written “this wall saves lives”. However, this was subsequently changed to “this wall enslaves lives”.

Bethlehem Unwrapped is not a respectful project however much Rector Winkett is trying to convince us. It mocks Israel’s valid attempts to keep both Israelis and Palestinians alive. Palestinians cannot now be sent as suicide bombers by Hamas.

And it fails to recognise even the possibility that the main problem for Bethlehem’s Christians is not the security wall at all but intimidation by Hamas similar to that carried out by Islamists elsewhere.

Moreover, St James’s Church’s Bethlehem Unwrapped festival has attracted antisemites, Holocaust deniers, those campaigning for the destruction of Israel and those who condone violence to that end.

This may not have been St James’s Church’s intention but this is what has happened and for this Rector Winkett should apologise to Britain’s Jewish community which is bearing the main brunt of the backlash.

The biggest irony is that St James’s Church itself is protected by a security wall; a tall metal fence that contains a locked door. When the door is unlocked it is heavily guarded. Some may call this a checkpoint.

St James’s Church is, understandably, protecting itself from anyone harbouring ill feeling towards it and who may be inclined to carry out an atrocity similar to those carried out against Churches in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Nigeria and Egypt by militant Islamists.

Israel is doing the same.

(This piece was originally posted at CiFWatch)

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A Story of Two Flotillas

1940 Dunkirk evacuation (kingofpeace.blogspot.com)

There are two flotillas of ships sailing today and the contrast could not be more different.

The brave:

Today is the 70th anniversary of the evacuation of Dunkirk that gave us the term the “Dunkirk spirit”. It was a crucial moment in World War Two.

Between 27 May and 4 June 1940 338,000 British and French soldiers were rescued from the beaches of northern France having been pushed back by the invading Germans.

700 vessels ranging from pleasure craft to fishing boats worked under a hail of German bombs to take the Allied troops off the beaches and ferry them to larger ships so they could be brought home.

Winston Churchill called it a “miracle of deliverance” and the evacuation is seen as one of several events in 1940 that determined the outcome of the war.

To mark the anniversary a flotilla of 60 small ships set sail from southern England and will return on 31 May.

The not-so-brave:

Then there is another flotilla supported by Viva Palestina and a Turkish charity. This one has just set sail to try to break the so-called “siege of Gaza”.

The website of Viva Palestina, which has conducted past convoys to Gaza, states in its narrative on the current flotilla: “The Israeli government has turned Gaza into a prisoner camp and has been carrying out a genocide. This camp and genocidal acts very much resemble Hitler’s actions in history.”

Israel and Egypt have imposed restrictions on Gaza to stop Hamas, the Islamist resistance movement, firing thousands of Kassam rockets into Israel.

Any such comparison of Gaza to the Holocaust, in which six million Jews and four million gays, communists, gypsies and disabled people were systematically murdered, is purely sickening.

The people of Gaza should blame Hamas for their suffering, not Israel.

But then we know what happens if they so much as protest against Hamas. Hamas is notorious for binding the hands and legs of so-called “traitors” before throwing them off the tops of buildings to certain death.

Either that or the “traitors” are shot in both knees.

Hamas doesn’t do trials.

When Viva Palestina conducted a convoy to Gaza in February/March 2009 George Galloway, according to the Charity Commission, confirmed that £25,000 of personal money was handed to Hamas along with 100 vehicles.

I hope the current flotilla will at least bring something constructive to the area but when Viva Palestina tried to enter Gaza from Egypt in January an Egyptian border guard was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper.

While Israel does in fact let in necessities and aid to Gaza it is Islamic extremists who are making life in Gaza intolerable, even to the extent of destroying a United Nations summer camp for children. They accused the UN of promoting immorality.

The current convoy is trying to enter Gaza via sea instead of land after the extended trip Viva Palestina was sent on by the Egyptian authorities in January.

So we recall today the brave men and women of the Dunkirk evacuation for their bravery 70 years ago while under heavy bombardment from the Nazis.

There will never be enough gratitude that we can show them for what they did.

The same may not be said for the activists on the convoy currently en route to Gaza*.

* The father of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit asked the current convoy to carry a parcel and letter into the Gaza Strip for his son, who has been kept in isolation by Hamas for coming up to four years now. The activists refused.

Gaza flotilla