On returning from Occupied Ramallah

Having just returned from the occupied Palestinian city of Ramallah, we can report to you that the Israeli state is conducting nothing short of a campaign of terror against the civilian population in that city and many others.

We were in Ramallah to experience and document the realities of life under foreign occupation, but as the city was invaded on the morning after our arrival, we also assisted in humanitarian relief efforts in the area.

During our visit we were fired on in marked ambulances carrying the sick and injured, our colleagues were physically abused, food and medical supplies were thrown into the street, and ambulance drivers were consistently arrested and prevented from doing their work. One driver was detained for six days without charge in abusive and humiliating conditions. Houses in which members of our group stayed were raided and ransacked by Israeli soldiers, who also looted nearby houses and shops.

The medical relief centre from which we were working was shelled and had the bodies of dead Palestinians dumped on its doorsteps. We have met families of innocent civilians killed in this past week, and we know that this practice continues. And, as the water supply has been deliberately cut and people cannot leave their homes, thousands in Ramallah are still without food and water.

The British government prides itself on its’ humanitarianism and its humanitarian concerns for our personal safety led to calls for our evacuation.

But is it really humanitarian for the British Labour government to supply weaponry, diplomatic and political support to a state like Israel which practices collective punishment on a whole population, is conducting a military occupation which violates international law and which is denying basic supplies to tens of thousands of people?

We have seen humanitarianism not in the policies of the British government, but in the actions of the Palestinian people. It is the Palestinians who are putting all their efforts into ending the key obstacle to the delivery of basic services and provision of a decent way of life: the Israeli occupation of their towns and villages.

We call on our government to end its support for Israeli state terror, to cut all military, political and diplomatic backing for Israel and to vigorously back the immediate implementation of UN resolutions 242, 338 and Security Council resolution 1402.

And we call on the British people to realise that they have no interest in supporting Israel’s brutal suppression of the Palestinians, who – even as we are being forced out of our homes by spiralling rents and cavalier landlords – are being forced out of theirs by bulldozers and tanks.