The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) strongly criticises the continued cruel and barbaric actions by the state of Israeli against the People of Palestine. We cannot stand by while Israeli continues to take land, rights, civil liberties, pride and literally everything from the Palestinians.
The recent decision by Israeli to punish Palestinians for applying to join the Rome Statute of the ICC in The Hague shows who the real aggressor is. The ICC was set up to try war crimes and crimes against humanity such as genocide and if Israeli has not committed any such acts, it has no reason to worry. In fact it should be encouraging a full scale investigation of war crimes and genocide in the Middle East. Israel and the United States object to unilateral approaches by the Palestinians to world bodies, saying they undermine prospects for negotiating a peaceful settlement of the decades-old Middle East conflict. Why should Israeli withhold money that does not belong to them? "This is highway robbery. Not only is this illegal, they are adding money theft to land theft. The revenues belong to the Palestinian people, they go to pay salaries and support our economy. Israel has no business deciding to steal our funds," said senior Palestinian negotiator Hanan Ashrawi. We agree with him.
The tax revenues are critical to running the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule. They are used to pay public sector salaries and cover other state expenses. Israel took a similar step in December 2012, freezing revenue transfers for three months in anger at the Palestinians' launch of a campaign for recognition of statehood at the United Nations. This is unacceptable. Under interim peace deals from the 1990s, Israel collects at least $100 million a month in duties on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.
We are in solidarity with the people of Palestine. As Samora Machel said, " An International solidarity is not an act of charity: it is an act of unity between allies fighting on different terrains toward the same objectives. The foremost of these objectives is to assist in the development of humanity to the highest level possible". Palestinians are in a fight for their land in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East War.
Because of the de facto recognition of a Palestinian state by the UN General Assembly in 2012, there is no reason why it should be denied the right to approach the ICC. Palestine was ruled by Britain until UN Resolution 181 was passed on November 29 1947 calling for the exit of Britain and the partitioning of Palestine into " independent Arabs and Jewish States." Israel has never respected this resolution together with subsequent resolutions which gave dignity to the Palestinians. It only recognises its right to exist, have nuclear arsenal and terrorise the Arabs.
The ruling BDP Government should have its voice heard regarding Israeli treatment of Palestinians. It is also interesting that it is now quiet when it was the noisiest and supporting the ICC position on the prosecution of Uhuru Kenyatta, Omar Hassan Al Bashir and other African leaders. The UDC will not keep quiet. The Palestinians land has been taken and they have been pushed into overcrowded territories with no direct access to the outside world, occasionally getting a dose of Israeli brutality with nowhere to run. Gaza Strip with a population of 1.5 million is about 11 kilometers by 45 kilometers. Its residents are only allowed to fish within a radius of six (6) nautical miles of the Sea with the rest under Israeli control. This is a small area to live in, produce food and recreate. It is more of an open prison. Botswana should not be have diplomatic relations with Israeli. The government should as a matter of urgency reconsider its relations with this rogue state. Inconsistency on the part of the BDP government and its tendency of pursuing a pro west foreign policy is not doing us any good. We are encouraging the killing and maiming of innocent people by continuing to have the kind of relationship we have with Israeli.