This urgent action has been sent to you by the UK and Ireland office of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).
Many of you will have been following the news of a plan to forcibly transfer as many as 7,000 Palestinians from 46 communities in the West Bank, in some cases to make way for more illegal settlements. The UN Secretary-General has said that if this plan goes ahead it will be in violation of international law and represent a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Despite strong international opposition, it has become clear in recent weeks that the Israeli government is now moving ahead to make this plan a reality. This includes starting infrastructure work at one of the sites to which Palestinians will be forcibly transferred and appointing a retired General to oversee and progress the transfer process.
There is also deep concern for the fate of the village of Susiya in the southern West Bank. Earlier this month, the Israeli High Court ruled that officials could carry out demolition orders on the entire village, forcibly transferring over 250 people from the place in which they have lived since before the occupation of the West Bank began in 1967.
The situation is now urgent with fears that the demolitions and forcible transfers could take place imminently.
Please write to your Member of Parliament or TD to ask them raise your concerns with the government and take action. You can use the template email and letter below to contact your elected representative.
Our Ecumenical Accompaniers are in close contact with the affected communities and are actively monitoring the effects of these policies. You can read the latest photo essays written by EAs on this issue by clicking on the following links:
Thank you for your support.
If you are in Ireland, please ask your TD to write to the Foreign Minister in the template below. You can find your TD’s email or postal address by going to www.whoismytd.com
If you are in the UK, please ask your MP to write to the Foreign Secretary in the template below. You can find your MP’s email or postal address by going to www.theyworkforyou.com/mps
Please amend the template below as appropriate. Please also add your home address to your email or letter as MPs and TDs are only required to action correspondence from their own constituents. Thank you.
Dear [name of elected representative],
I am contacting you as your constituent to ask that you write to the [Foreign Minister/Foreign Secretary] to express my deep concern about recent steps Israel has taken to advance its plan to forcibly relocate as many as 7,000 Palestinian Bedouin from 46 communities in occupied Palestine.
The UN Secretary-General has stated that the Israeli government’s implementation of the relocation plan would amount to individual and mass forcible transfers and evictions, representing a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The plan includes transferring Palestinian communities from the politically sensitive “E1 area” in order to expand the illegal settlement of Ma’ale Adumim. Such a move would destroy any chance of a viable Palestinian state by effecting cutting the West Bank in two.
Despite strong opposition from the international community, the Israeli government has taken a number of steps recently to advance this plan, including starting work at one of the sites to which Palestinians will be forcibly transferred and appointing a retired General to liaise with affected communities and oversee the transfer process.
The situation is particularly alarming because the Israeli government has also taken steps to forcibly transfer Palestinian communities in other areas of occupied Palestine. At the beginning of May 2015, the Israeli High Court ruled that officials could carry out demolition orders on the entire village of Susiya in the southern West Bank. If these demolitions go ahead, over 250 people will be evicted from the place in which they have lived since before the occupation of the West Bank started in 1967.
Only a few weeks ago, Israeli officials visited Susiya to map the village ahead of its demolition. Based on past experience, local residents fear this means the Israeli authorities are planning to demolish the village in the near future and hand the land over to illegal Israeli settlers. Once this has happened, the families of Susiya will be left homeless in harsh desert conditions.
Given the urgency of the situation, I would be grateful if you could write to the [Foreign Minister/ Foreign Secretary] to raise these concerns and ask that the [UK/Ireland] issue a public statement and call directly on the Israeli government to immediately freeze all settlement activity and demolition orders, and cancel all transfer plans.