Musician Peter Gabriel joined his name to a letter protesting the Prawer Plan, which could displace tens of thousands of Bedouin Palestinians from their homes in the Israeli south. The letter, which was published on the UK’s Guardian, calls upon the British government “to make its relationship with Israel conditional on respect for human rights and international law and take concrete action to hold Israel to account”.
Other names on the letter include Brian Eno and directors Mike Leigh and Ken Loach. All three protested Israeli policies in the past as well. The full letter, signed by fifty public figures, reads:
Earlier this year, the Israeli knesset approved the Prawer-Begin plan. If implemented, this plan will result in the destruction of more than 35 Palestinian towns and villages in Al-Naqab (Negev) in the south of Israel and the expulsion and confinement of up to 70,000 Palestinian Bedouins. It means forced displacement of Palestinians from their homes and land, and systematic discrimination and separation. The Israeli government is pushing ahead with this plan despite the Palestinian Bedouin community’s complete rejection of the plan, and condemnation from human rights groups.
Palestinians are holding mass demonstrations in Israel and in the occupied Palestinian territory to oppose the Prawer plan and urge international governments to take action capable of pressuring Israel to abandon the plan. The UK government emphasises that it has raised concerns about the forced displacement of Bedouin Palestinians “at the highest levels”. Yet such statements ring hollow when the UK government continues to export arms to Israel and continues its ties with the Israeli government and industry. It is time for the UK government to make its relationship with Israel conditional on respect for human rights and international law and take concrete action to hold Israel to account.
UPDATE: Harriet Sherwood has more on this letter.