Monday, February 8, 2016

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Sweden And Palestine

Steven Katsineris shares a letter he sent to the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Dear Ms Wallstrom, 

Warmest greetings from Australia. I hope you don’t mind a stranger from far away writing to you. I know you will be a very busy person.

I just wanted to express my respect and appreciation to you for your statements on Palestine. I share your concerns on these matters and have felt profoundly upset about the Palestine situation for a long time. 

I want to thank you very much for raising your concerns about the killings of so many Palestinians in Israel during the ongoing rebellion on the occupied West Bank of Palestine. Also for calling for a credible investigation into these deaths, many of them children and young people. This situation is very distressing and sadly, the recent upheaval and violence is just the latest of several mass uprisings and other acts of resistance in the long running sordid history of the Israeli occupation and illegal settlement building in Palestine.

Many other individuals, organisations and governments share your concerns, as human rights groups have expressed their anxiety and some have accused Israel of using excessive force to quell the unrest. The United States, the European Union and the United Nations have also expressed concern. 

Despite repeated talk of a just resolution and peace in Palestine, numerous investigations into other dreadful incidents and atrocities as well as countless UN resolutions condemning Israel, Israel continues to ignore any criticism, continues its harsh occupation and expands its settlement building and evictions of Palestinians.

The plight of the Palestinians in the past over 60 years has only gotten worse and this lack of any real progress on a genuine viable and just resolution I believe is linked to the present uprising and will lead to more radicalization and wider violence. 

Palestinians have waited so long in vain for the international community to act to pressure Israel to work seriously towards a solution or to enforce UN resolutions and international law. I hope more people and countries will have the courage to speak up and do something constructive on the Palestine issue, before more and more Palestinians are overcome with feelings of hopelessness and rage. 

Israeli forces or armed civilians have now killed at least 143 Palestinians in the past few months, 83 of whom Israeli authorities described as assailants. Most of the others have been killed in clashes with Israeli forces. And 24 Israelis have been killed. As well, thousands of Palestinians languish in prison, including many who are administrative detainees, who have not been charged or sentenced of any crimes. 

These recent deaths and that of thousands of others killed and injured in the previous conflicts in Gaza, West Bank, Lebanon and elsewhere I find heart wrenchingly saddening. It is deplorable that for so long the world has allowed gross human, civil and other rights abuses to be inflicted on the Palestinian people. The Palestine problem is one of the great crimes of our time and the anguish of these poor, mistreated, dispossessed, neglected people is a disgrace that shames all humanity. Thank you again for speaking up, I hope more people of conscience will be encouraged to do so and progress can be finally made on this.

Lastly, I am very grateful that Sweden has recognised Palestine. Such efforts are a significant step in moving towards a settlement of this issue and I’m sure will make a definite difference to changing the Palestine situation.  

With very best wishes,

Yours Sincerely, 

Steven Katsineris

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