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Flotilla – vessels from Eire, Sweden, Greece and Turkey to Gaza. UK citizens on board. Humanitarian purposes – writing paper, medical supplies, cement etc etc AND to break the illegal siege of Gaza which punishes all 1.5 million citizens.

24 May 2010

To Mr Mel Stride MP for Central Devon
copy to The Rt Hon William Hague First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (by Royal Mail).

copy to Alistair Burt MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (by Royal Mail)

Dear Mr Stride,

We have corresponded about Palestine before. Congratulations on your election in this new constituency.

I write on behalf of the Dove and Dolphin Charity which I founded with a voyage to Palestine in February 2003. We concern ourselves with the welfare of children in particular but our work becomes ever more difficult because of the barriers to entry and exit that are erected by Israel, or at its behest.

We urge that HMG treats any obstruction of the flotilla that is bound for Gaza with humanitarian cargoes as a gross breach of international law. We demand that it resists the threatened and armed obstruction of that flotilla in all lawful ways, including the provision of a UK naval escort, as it passes from international waters into those off the 25 mile long Gaza strip.

There is ample evidence that the 'Israeli state' is steadily becoming more lawless in every way towards the native people and its actions more barbarous. If the UK and other western governments take a robust line now, a real 'peace process' will emerge.

I have personal experience of that barbarity. I was was on my way to Gaza 28 December 2008 to offer my services as a surgeon and to represent the charity as the people of Gaza were being bombarded in a promised 'greater shoah' (Deputy defence minister Matan Vilnai February 2008). The MV Dignity was rammed thrice by a gun boat at speed, in the dark, and in stiff seas, with obvious lethal intent. A protest by my then MP on behalf of myself and the British master of the verssel were brushed away by Mr Milliband. This piracy was of no importance to him.

I trust that the new government and the 'new politics' will deal with the Palestinian people with justice and with even-handedness. This quotation from John Locke, leader of the enlightment in Britain, is entirely apt:- 'There the law ends, tyranny begins' 1675

For truth, reason and justice

David Halpin FRCS

Summary by another author – a senior journalist

Israel’s three year near-hermetic closure constitutes collective punishment of an occupied civilian population. This is explicitly prohibited under Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, as well as by the domestic laws of civilized nations.

Israel as the Occupying Power in the Gaza Strip has a duty to ensure that the population receives food and medical supplies, as well as a duty to maintain hospitals and other medical services, “to the fullest extent of the means available to it” (Fourth Geneva Convention, arts. 55, 56). Israel is responsible for the maintenance of ‘normal’ life in the territory.

Israel has grossly abused its responsibilities as an Occupying Power, by neglecting to provide for the welfare of the Palestinian civilian population, and instituting policies designed to collectively punish it. The United Nations Fact finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, led by Justice Goldstone, stated that the closure of the Gaza Strip may amount to the crime against humanity of persecution.

According to the United Nations, Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in January 2009, damaged or destroyed at least 11,000 houses, 105 factories, 20 hospitals and clinics, and 159 schools, universities, playschools and technical institutions. Some 51,800 people were displaced, while 20,000 remain homeless to this day. Israel has permitted virtually no reconstruction; in many ways the Gaza Strip remains as it did on 18 January 2009.

Israel has banned over 2000 items from entering Gaza, including cement, glass, paper, and iron, as well as cancer medicine, toys, chocolate, desks, fabrics, and fruit juice. Earlier this month, the BBC obtained a report by the Israeli government "Food Consumption in the Gaza Strip - Red Lines". It sets out the minimum caloric intake required to prevent the starvation of Gaza's million and a half inhabitants, according to their age and sex.

Karen Koning Abu Zayd, former head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), has asserted that "Gaza is on the threshold of becoming the first territory to be intentionally reduced to a state of abject destitution, with the knowledge, acquiescence and – some would say – encouragement of the international community."

On 27/5/10 14:42, David Halpin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. wrote:

Mike Knuckey Personal assistant to Mr Mel Stride MP

Dear Mr Knuckey,

You were uncertain whether Mr Stride had received this e-mail which I sent him on Monday 24 May 2010. Certainly I have had no reply.

It is a very important, nay symbolic matter. International and humanitarian law is trampled constantly.

You undertook to make sure he gets this. The flotilla of 9 boats, with its 600 passengers whose intentions are entirely peaceful, should reach Gaza on Saturday/Sunday.

The letter below has been put into Open Office - see attachment. It is easier to read.

Mr Hague's office, and Mr Burt's, should have received their copies 25 May.

Yours sincerely

David Halpin FRCS 01364 661115 07980 588525

12.53 29 May

Thank you for your email. Contents duly noted. I would be interested to receive a copy of the response you receive from William Hague's office for information.

Yours sincerely

Mel Stride

3.35 pm 29 May

Thank you. I am uncertain whether you raised your voice against this barbarity as my new MP? That was my intention in writing to you. I will tell you what I hear from the FCO.

This phone message on line:- Phoned report at 14.00 hrs from John Herson on Rachel Corrie.

3 vessels - mechanical trouble - sabotaged. Cyprus refused anchorage - even though one is taking on water. Also refused to allow transfer of MPs etc to vessels. Remaining 5 vessels assembling off Cyprus with intention of making Gaza in 24 hrs.

yours sincerely

David Halpin

Dear Mr Stride,

I have had no responses from Mr Hague or Mr Burt.

I should be grateful to know

a. whether you conveyed my concerns urgently to HMG having first received them on 24 May? In that letter I said 'We demand that it resists the threatened and armed obstruction of that flotilla in all lawful ways, including the provision of a UK naval escort, as it passes from international waters into those off the 25 mile long Gaza strip.' If HMG had taken a robust line there would not be 19 corpses in morgues and dozens of injured in hospital. As a surgeon and healer I am outraged by the loss of life arising from the subservient silence of the government.

b. Whether any UK subject, or subject with dual UK/Israeli nationality, took part in the assault force?

c. I wish to know the names of all UK subjects who have been either killed, injured or taken into custody in plastic handcuffs for 'interrogation'. You will know that the latter has no lawful basis. The entity is unlawfully restricting release of names, thus adding to the great distress of relatives and friends.

I write about matters of great public concern and of international and human rights law. I therefore intend to publish this correspondence on my web site.

I say that the responses from the leadership of the ConLib 'coalition' are lame beyond words. It has not helped perhaps that PM Cameron declared himself a 'Zionist' a few years ago on a visit to the Zionist entity.

For truth, reason and justice

David Halpin FRCS