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LETTERS – Palestinian refugees must have the right to return home

This article is over 5 years, 9 months old
Issue 2620
We must keep protesting to defend Palestinians
We must keep protesting to defend Palestinians (Pic: Guy Smallman)

There was more evidence last week that the full support Donald Trump’s administration is giving to the occupation and ethnic cleansing of Palestine is unprecedented.

In under two years of his administration, Trump has made a series of steps to silence and undermine Palestinian rights and fair requests.

The US moved its embassy to Jerusalem and declared it the capital of Israel. This was followed by the US withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council over presumed anti-Israel bias.

Trump has slashed £230 million in funding for the United Nations Refugee and Work Agency (UNRWA). And just last week Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations, questioned the right of return for Palestinians.

She said UNRWA should “change the number of refugees to an accurate account”.

There are an estimated five million Palestinian refugees. Most are descendants of those who were forcibly removed from their land 70 years ago.

The aim of Haley’s comment is to undermine the Palestinian right of return and their entitlement, as refugees, to international protection.

This comes after 70 years of injustice during which Palestinians’ homes and lands have been stolen, and their human rights violated. This is part of a “peace process” where the only solution imagined is the continued displacement of Palestinians.

Their rights, culture and memories are denied for the sake of the occupying entity.

For Trump’s gang their physical displacement is not enough, now they wish to make them disappear politically too.

It is time for the Palestinians not to be refugees anymore—not because Trump says so, but because it is time for them to go home. Palestinians will return, like it or not.

Gabriella Ibba, South London

Fighting for equality within our council

As recently elected female Labour and Cooperative councillors, we are determined to move West Oxfordshire District Council into the 21st century.

We started by requesting female councillors not have their marriage status prefixed to their name in council minutes.

Traditionally the minutes assumed councillors to be male, so male councillors were listed by their name, whereas female councillors were identified by Ms, Mrs and Miss.

This was evidence of larger structural inequalities which exist beneath the surface. And we wanted to create a more equal environment which would be visible in every council document.

After requesting Ms be removed from our names in all minutes, we still had to gain permission to be addressed as we wished.

We hope this encourages other women to stand for office in the knowledge they will be treated fairly and equally in our council.

This may be considered small, but it’s an incredibly important and rewarding change. We’ve come a long way with gender rights, but these everyday inequalities will hold us back unless challenged. We look forward to seeing many more women winning seats.

Rosa Bolger and Merilyn Davies, West Oxfordshire District Council

Don’t let nationalism win in the scallop wars

Tory environment secretary Michael Gove and assorted right wingers are seizing the opportunity for a nationalistic rant about French scallop dredgers.

This came after clashes between French and British boats off the coast of Normandy.

The French fisherfolk were understandably angry because they observe a ban imposed by the French state on dredging at this time of year.

This allows some recovery of stock and of marine life on the seabed—but the British scallop-dredgers barged in anyway.

Scallop-dredging is horribly destructive.

The beam that is dragged across the seabed kills half of all marine life in its path.

There needs to be a massive de-escalation of this method of seafood harvesting.

British-registered ships should agree to partial bans that are imposed from time to time by individual states.

Mike Killian, Manchester

No profit in the NHS

Your article Privatisation bonanza for billionaire Branson while NHS faces cash crisis (Socialist Worker, 8 August) failed to paint an accurate picture of Virgin Care and your article contained a number of inaccuracies.

Virgin Care has won a number of contracts but most require substantial investment and work to improve the services, which Virgin Care is now carrying out.

There is no “privatisation bonanza” as you state and Virgin Care were never involved in the Cambridgeshire contract (£335 million) mentioned in your article.

Sir Richard Branson is not “profiteering” from any NHS contracts.

In fact, the Virgin Group has invested over £30 million in Virgin Care.

This investment in people and technology has supported doctors and nurses in their jobs, significantly reduced waiting lists and made a real difference to patients and their families across the UK.

Neither Richard Branson nor Virgin Care has ever made a profit from the NHS.

Richard has pledged that if and when he could take a dividend from Virgin Care—over and above his interest free investment—he will put 100 percent of money back into the NHS, with front line employees deciding how best to spend it.

Richard has not and does not intend to ever take a penny of profit out of the NHS.

Nick Fox, Virgin Group

Football lads are bigots

There is clear evidence from around the world of extensive sexual abuse and cruelty by representatives of the Catholic church.

These crimes were known about and systematically covered up by both the religious authorities and their political accomplices.

Perhaps the Football Lads Alliance would organise a protest against it, or would that undermine their racist bigotry?

John Murphy, Stockport

Is G4S mates with Tories?

I wonder how many Tories are G4S shareholders. These scumbags have screwed us time and time again.

Tony Webb, On Facebook

No radioactive mud in Cardiff

On Bank Holiday Monday over 500 people protested outside the Senedd—the Welsh Assembly building—in Cardiff.

The Welsh government has granted EDF Energy a license to dump 300,000 tonnes of radioactive mud on our shores. The plans must be scrapped.

Phil Knight, Swansea

Was Oliver being a jerk?

I don’t get why people took Jamie Oliver’s jerk rice dish so badly.

Laura Marr, On Facebook

Wonga aren’t loan sharks

Despicable though they are, Brighthouse and Wonga are not loan sharks (Socialist Worker, 29 August).

Loan sharks visit debtors at home using threats, intimidation and actual physical violence to enforce payment.

Calling Brighthouse a loan shark is like calling Donald Trump a Nazi— tempting, but doing so undermines what the word actually means. And apart from anything else—it makes Socialist Worker look naive.

Helen Rogers, Manchester

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