sent by Naim Dangoor to Sir Christopher Bland, Chairman
of the BBC, Broadcasting House, London with a copy to The
Rt Hon Mr Jack Straw, MP-Foreign Secretary-Foreign Office
understand that you have taken the trouble of screening
a programme against Ariel Sharon and his indirect involvement
in the murder of some 800 Palestinians in Sabra and Shatila.
An Israeli court of enquiry had already criticised Mr Sharon
for his involvement which was regarded as indirect, and
your programme was not really necessary.
dont you research and prepare a programme about the
British Foreign Offices direct and profound involvement
in the murder of six million European Jews in what became
known as the Holocaust, to prevent them from reaching Palestine,
to comply with the terms of the 1939 White Paper? Contact
was maintained with the ex-Mufti of Jerusalem who spent
the war years in Berlin.
further evidence is the sinking of the Struma by order of
Lord Moyne, with the loss of 800 lives. This would really
be a worthwhile programme and an eye opener.
from BBC Information:
you for your letter of 25 June addressed to the Chairman
to which I reply as follows:
recognise that you feel the screening of Panorama - The
Accused was not necessary. I would like to explain that
Panorama - The Accused examined the massacre of at
least 800 civilians in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila
during the invasion of Lebanon in 1982. It analysed the
role played by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, amongst
others, who resigned as Israeli Minister of Defence following
the Kahan Commission inquiry into the tragedy.
Mr Sharon has now been elected Prime Minister of Israel,
we therefore felt it to be appropriate to examine his political
and military record, in particular as the Israeli Defence
Minister who sent the Lebanese Phalange militiamen into
the Palestinian refugee camps.
asked contemporary figures and international law experts
whether, in the current climate of greater international
accountability for war crimes, they believed that Mr Sharon
could be indicted for what happened. The programme also
interviewed survivors of the massacre, Israeli officers
who served in Beirut and members of the Christian Phalange
which committed the atrocities, notably Elie Hobeika, the
man accused of leading the militiamen in the camps. Mr Sharon
was approached to be interviewed for the programme and his
spokesman Dr Ranaan Gissen was interviewed on his behalf.
A lawyer for Mr Sharon, Dov Weissglas, also appears in the
BBC has made numerous films about human rights abuses in
the Middle East. Among them are a Correspondent film
which was highly critical of Yasser Arafats Palestinian
Authority and a disturbing Newsnight film on the
use of children in the front line of the intifada. We believe
Panorama - The Accused to be an entirely legitimate
look at a human rights issue and that it is a fair and balanced
analysis of the role played by Ariel Sharon. I hope this
clarifies the BBCs position.
be assured your comments on this matter have been recorded
for the benefit of senior management and the programme makers.
The BBC welcomes all feedback, as it helps us to make decisions
about future programmes or policies.
reply to BBC/Mori Questionnaire:
help ensure the BBC Information Department is giving you
the service you need, we would like to have your views on:
courteous very satisfied
in a full and serious manner to my comments and/or complaint
did not reply to the second part of my letter, which I now
request you to do, by referring it either to "Panorama"
or to the proper department in order to investigate Britains
wartime role in the Holocaust."
to the same letter also received from:
& Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
you for your letter about the situation in the Middle East,
which has been passed to this Department. Please find below
a summary of the Governments position on recent events.
Government is greatly concerned by the continuing violence
in the region, and dismayed by the tragic deaths. In particular,
it deplores the fact that the violence has led to loss of
life among children and innocent bystanders. The UK supports
the view of the UN High Commission for Human Rights that
the protection of children must be an absolute priority
for both parties.
Government has consistently urged Israel and the Palestinian
Authority to show restraint. Violent incidents in Israel
and the Occupied Territories threaten to derail the fragile
cease-fire. It is vital now for the parties to end the violence
and to move ahead with full and early implementation of
the recommendations of the Mitchell Committee report, which
sets out a road back to the negotiating table.
UK has played an important role in recent months. The Prime
Minister met Israeli Prime Minister Sharon on 24 June and
Foreign Minister Peres on 18 July and urged them to take
urgent steps in parallel with the Palestinians to implement
the Mitchell recommendations. Lord Levy has travelled to
the region as the Prime Ministers envoy. Ben Bradshaw,
the new Minister for the Middle East, visited the region
in July. The Foreign Secretary has met Israeli, Palestinian,
Syrian and Arab League leaders. He is in close touch with
his EU and US counterparts and with the UN Secretary General.
UK and the EU have serious concerns about the lack of respect
for human rights in the Occupied Territories. Following
its policy of constructive engagement with partners on human
rights issues; the EU raised its concerns with Israel at
the meeting on 21 May of the EU/Israel Association Committee.
We will continue to raise our concerns, both publicly and
in private at all levels, for as long as this remains necessary.
The Foreign Secretary has expressed deep concern over the
demolition of Palestinian houses.
Government deplores settlement activity in the Occupied
Territories (including East Jerusalem). It is illegal under
international law and a serious obstacle to peace. The recommendation
of the Mitchell Committee is that Israel should freeze all
settlement activity, including the "natural growth"
of existing settlements. The EU raised the issue of Israeli
settlements at a meeting with Prime Minister Sharon in Stockholm
on 14 June.
Government supports UN General Assembly Resolution 194,
which calls for the right of return and compensation for
Palestinian refugees. A permanent solution to their plight
can only be achieved as part and parcel of the peace process
and we continue to encourage and support the parties in
their search -for an agreement.
Government is also deeply concerned about the humanitarian
and economic impact of closures. Sustained closures continue
to restrict the free movement of people and essential supplies
between the Occupied Territories and Israel and other countries,
as well as within the Occupied Territories. Economic hardship
and unemployment can only fuel hatred and violence, and
make a comprehensive settlement more difficult to achieve.
We have expressed our serious concerns to the Israeli Government
on political, legal and humanitarian grounds, and will continue
to do so. The latest EU demarche to the Israeli government
on humanitarian access was made on 29 June at the UN in
presence of international observers has been suggested as
a means of contributing to stability in the region. The
EU General Affairs Council on 16 July agreed that a third-party
monitoring mechanism is needed in order to overcome any
obstacles that might impede the implementation of the Mitchell
recommendations. Foreign Ministers and subsequently G8 Heads
of State took a similar view when they met in Italy (on
19 July and 21 July respectively). Our view is that to be
successful any presence would require prior agreement by
both Israelis and Palestinians.
UK regards the status of Jerusalem as still to be determined
in permanent status negotiations between the parties, and
recognise no sovereignty over the city. Pending agreement,
we recognise de facto Israeli control of West Jerusalem
but consider East Jerusalem to be occupied territory. Jerusalem
has a unique religious and cultural importance for Christians,
Jews and Muslims, and we attach great importance to ensuring
access to Jerusalem and freedom of worship there for those
of all faiths.
the question of arms sales, the UK is guided by the consolidated
EU and national criteria on Strategic Export Controls. We
will not issue export licences where there is a clear risk
that the equipment might be used for internal repression
or adversely affect regional stability. We will not issue
licences for equipment similar to that used in the Occupied
Territories. We have no evidence that British-made equipment
licensed for export since this Government came to office
in 1997 has been used by the Israeli forces against civilians
in the Occupied Territories during the recent violence.
Since this Government came to office in 1997, no export
licence has been approved for tear gas or rubber bullets.
Government has called on Israel to use non-lethal force
wherever possible. One of the Mitchell Reports recommendations
was that Israel should ensure that the IDF adopts and enforces
policies and procedures encouraging non-lethal responses
to unarmed demonstrators. They should adopt tactics of crowd
control that minimise the potential for deaths and casualties
and should ensure that the stated values and standard operating
procedures of the IDF instil the duty of caring for Palestinians
as well as Israelis, consistent with the Ethical Code of
the IDF. Israel has accepted the Committees report.
involvement is practical as well as political. The UKs
total assistance to the Palestinians, including contributions
to UNRWA (the UN Relief and Works Agency) and via the EU,
is generally around £25 million per year. In 1998
(the latest available OECD figure) it was £28.4 million.
This year it will be substantially more.
be assured that the Government remains closely engaged in
efforts to urge both parties to consolidate the cease-fire
and build confidence, in the context of a renewed political
re-engagement, aimed at an agreement based on United Nations
Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the principle
of land for peace, security for Israel within
recognised borders and an end to occupation.
Near East and North Africa Department
you for your letter dated 2 August stating British policy
regarding the Middle East, which I am unable to accept and
Her Majestys government policy regarding the Jewish
National home soon after the Balfour Declaration has been
to harass Jewish immigration into Palestine and to create
ill-feeling between Jews and Arabs. The problem you are
talking about is not between Israelis and Palestinians.
It is a regional problem which came into being with the
dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire and the granting of
all its Middle East territories to the Arabs. The Jews of
the region had a right to a share of that territory which
can be symbolised by the total area of Palestine.
In 1921 the late Winston Churchill gave Trans-Jordan to
Emir Abdullah without any conditions. That was the moment
of the partitioning of Palestine when Trans-Jordan should
have become the National home of the Palestinian Arabs.
You spoke of occupied territory but you dont mention
who you think it belongs to. In view of the fact that the
Arabs of Palestine as well as the neighbouring Arabs refuse
to live at peace with Israel, I consider that Israel is
justified in claiming the total area of geographical Palestine,
west of the Jordan.
You have the cheek to speak of the right of Palestinians
to return to Israel and thus destroy the Jewish state from
within. You seem to forget that in 1950 there was an exchange
of population when a million Jews from Arab countries went
to Israel in exchange for the million Arabs who had left
Israel. Such exchange took place between India and Pakistan,
Germany and Poland and many other neighbouring countries
after the war. You must be living in cuckoo land if you
You speak of resolutions 242 and 338; these and other resolutions
were totally and repeatedly rejected by the Arabs. How come
now you want to bring them to life again?
You speak of "land for peace". Surely the Arabs
have all the land 10 million square miles of it against
the Israelis 10,000. Do you seriously and honestly
believe that Israel should give some land to the Arabs?
You seem to think that when Palestinian leaders murder innocent
Israelis by training and sending suicide bombers to supermarkets
and nightclubs, that that is alright and is not against
international law, but when Israel targets the perpetrators
of these murders you condemn her action and say that it
is against international law. Such hypocrisy does not fit
the traditional character of the British people.
Regarding Jerusalem; you seem to think that divided Berlin
should have been united, but united Jerusalem should become
divided. As for freedom of worship to all faiths; when East
Jerusalem was in Arab hands, Jews were not allowed to worship
in their holy places and were driven out of their homes.
There is perfect freedom of worship to all concerned in
There is strong evidence that Her Majestys government
played an active and direct part in the Holocaust and this
is now being researched to bring to the surface what really
is going on in your Foreign Office.
Peace in the Middle East must be global and all the Arab
countries that went to war against Israel have to step in
and contribute in land, wealth, and other resources to solve
the endemic problem between Jew and Arab.
Rt. Hon. Jack Straw MP
you for your recent letter. Isnt it a shame that Great
Britain, who promised the Jews to restore their national
home in Palestine, should now be in the vanguard of those
seeking to destroy it?
you would like to make any comments or contribute to The
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