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Letters / ‘We need to hear your vocal opposition‘

To Shetland islands Council

My family were immigrants from Palestine to Edinburgh in 1948, fleeing the destruction and war after the British left Palestine. I returned in 1970s and have lived in Israel and Palestine about half my life. My family’s roots there are deep in the Ottoman era.

I currently spend half my time at my Shetland home of Unst, managing our local company, and half the year with my daughter in Jaffa, Israel, where I am now. The Green Olive Collective is my organisational home in Israel and Palestine. We are a group of Palestinians and Israelis devoted to ending the Israeli colonisation of Palestinian lands and building a democracy where all people can live in dignity, equality with respect for human rights.

Currently the Green Olive Collective and myself, are demanding a ceasefire in Gaza, a return of hostages and prisoners on all sides, and an end to the wanton killing of civilians in Gaza. I visited the Gaza border area on 13 February and talked to soldiers and residents. There is a horrific scenario emerging there. The 28,000 confirmed dead is only the tip off the iceberg.

Under the rubble that was once Gaza City, and other areas, there are likely thousands more dead. Malnutrition is rampant and the Israeli authorities are limiting the entry of humanitarian aid. Of the 2.5 million population, almost two million are homeless. There are few resources, and the spectre of disease has only just begun. It is entirely possible than eventually more people will die of starvation and disease than from Israeli attacks.

It is unconscionable that people of goodwill on the Shetland Islands Council (or anywhere) can support the cause of this humanitarian catastrophe. Yes, Hamas attack on 7 October 2023 was a crime of huge proportions.

However, consider this. In the 1970s the IRA was bombing civilians in English cities. Would you have supported the UK Government if they had sent in fighter jets to attack communities in Ireland where the IRA was based? Would you have supported turning Dublin into a pile of rubble with thousands of civilian deaths?

If your answer is ‘of course not’, then we need to hear your vocal opposition to the attacks on the people of Gaza.

Thank you,
Fred Schlomka
Co-managing partner
Green Olive Collective Ltd

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