27th June 2001
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) express deep disquiet at Mr Ariel Sharon being received at 10 Downing Street. Coming as it did against the background of Israel’s continued siege of three million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, extra judicial killings and continued bombing of civilians homes, factories, schools, mosques and churches, it was not only unfortunate but it also tended to send wrong signals about Britains Middle East policy.
One need hardly refer here to the record of Mr Sharon, the “hero” of the recent BBC Panorama documentary – the “Accused”. There is little controversy about his record of war crimes, not only in Sabra and Shatila, but even before that in Gaza and the West Bank. One assumes that our Prime Minister Tony Blair did reiterate that the only way to bring an end to the violence in the Palestinian territory, is to implement honestly and fairly all the relevant UN Resolutions.
Britain voted for the Security Council Resolution 1322 on 7th October 2000. This resolution identified Israel as the occupying power and has since become a matter of binding international law.
The MCB therefore wishes to draw attention to the fact that under the Hague Regulations of 1907 and the Fourth Geneva Conventions of 1949 belligerent occupation and their violations are considered war crimes. It is therefore Britain’s own treaty obligations to uphold the rule of international law, enforce them without prejudice or favour and match its pledges with practical policies.
The MCB believes that as a permanent member of the Security Council, author of the Balfour Declaration and former Mandatory power over Palestine, Britain is obliged to honour its historic duty and obtain a just settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict in accordance with UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and UN General Assembly Resolution 194.
The MCB firmly believe that Britain is capable and should lead by example, and exercise its full influence.