ALERT UPDATE: PALESTINE CAMPAIGN UPDATE

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The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) has received a letter from the British Foreign Office (FCO) in response to thousands of letters that IHRC campaigners have been sending to Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, in protest against British links with Israe Islamic Human Rights Commission

ALERT UPDATE: PALESTINE CAMPAIGN UPDATE

28th December 2000

The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) has received a letter from the British Foreign Office (FCO) in response to thousands of letters that IHRC campaigners have been sending to Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, in protest against British links with Israel amid the escalation of Israeli atrocities against Palestinians.

The Foreign Office letter, which was signed by the Minister of State Peter Hain and addressed to IHRC Chairman Massoud Shadjareh, admitted that over 1,000 letters based on IHRC's model were received by the FCO. Among the demands made by IHRC campaigners in their letters to the FCO, was the call to "dismiss Lord Levy - the Prime Minister's special envoy [to the Middle East] - whose Israeli ties have made the British government's claim to impartiality ridiculous.”

In the wake of this pressure, according to several reports in the British press, Lord Levy was sidelined by the British Government due to his Zionist connections and their possible adverse effect on his role as Tony Blair's Middle East envoy in relation to the Arab world (see for example The Times, 16 November 2000; The Independent, 20 December).

IHRC would thus like to congratulate its campaigners around the UK and abroad for their invaluable work, who have together created a powerful concerted impact on the British Government. However, this is just the first step, and we need to continue and increase our efforts.

So far, there have only been private admissions by British diplomats at home and abroad regarding Lord Levy's sidelining (The Times, 16 November). This means that although the campaign has met with some success, there is still a long way to go - although sidelined (he has been sent to Latin America rather than the Middle East), Lord Levy still officially remains the Prime Minister's special envoy to the Middle East despite his long-established Zionist connections.

Peter Hain's letter and a similar FCO reply to some campaigners did not go far enough in addressing the real issues of concern. Therefore, IHRC has updated the original specimen letter addressed to Foreign Secretary Robin Cook to account for the latest developments and renew demands to cease British support of Israel, while condemning - both in word and practice - Israel's human rights abuses and violations of international law.

The new updated specimen letter will be available for download from IHRC's website in several days in .pdf format. Campaigners who wish to immediately obtain a copy of the specimen letter may contact IHRC to receive the letter by email as an attachment. IHRC is also requesting help from volunteers who would like to aid IHRC in distributing the updated specimen letter to interested parties who wish to campaign for Palestine - the letter is available to be sent out by post. Please specify how many copies are required.

MORE INFORMATION
To read the Minister of State Peter Hain's letter to Chairman Massoud Shadjareh and IHRC's response, please visit our website, where more information on the Lord Levy controversy may also be found: www.ihrc.org.

IHRC can be contacted at the following -

Address: Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
Wembley
HA9 7XH
United Kingdom

Telephone: (+44) 208 902 0888

Fax: (+44) 208 902 0889

e-mail: info@ihrc.org or ihrc@dial.pipex.com
web: www.ihrc.org