Smith Shows Supports For Gaza Campaign

01 May 2009
SNP MEP Alyn Smith has today thrown his weight behind an International Campaign - ‘Open The Doors', which is dedicated to the thousands of people around the world who are helping the Free Gaza movement break the Israeli siege on Gaza.

The petition also campaigns to free political prisoners such as Sergeant Gilad Shalit, a 22 year old Israeli soldier who was kidnapped on 25 June 2006 by Palestinian militants in a cross border raid from the Gaza Strip and has been held hostage by Hamas.

The signature campaign was launched at the European Parliament in Brussels in Spring 2008 by Peace Lines, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) who have been devoted to finding ways out of the Israeli-Palestinian quagmire since 2000.

The Open The Doors campaign has secured more than 235 Deputees and Nobel Laureates signatures to date and has the backing of 191 Members of European Parliament. Smith today showed his wholehearted support and added his name to the expanding list of signatories.

Speaking from Edinburgh, Smith said:

"As this conflict is so deeply rooted in European historical heritage it is only right that the European Union has its voice heard in this crisis.

"The extent of damage done to those living in that region, in particular to those in Gaza, and to our basic Human Rights, is such that we need to take constant action, and ensure that such horror as occurred in Gaza at the end of 2008 and January 2009 will never happen again. The Israelis, who hold more than ten thousand Palestinian prisoners in their jails, must urgently release those held under administrative detention and other arbitrary procedures - including all the elected members of Palestinian legislature.

"The SNP carries no torch for any of the numerous sides in the dispute and favours a two state solution. Human beings are not bargaining chips. As long as political prisoners stay in jails there will not be peace or any development towards it. By signing this petition we show them they have not been forgotten."

Hannah Hillyer, A peace activist from Peace Lines said:

"As a volunteer organisation, there is only so much we can accomplish from outside the Parliament, therefore we depend upon, and deeply appreciate, those Members who not only add their name in support, but who take responsibility upon themselves to transform statements into acts and coherent stands.

"In this light, the support of Alyn Smith along with the 31 other Green MEPs, who share in this human concern for peace among Mediterranean neighbours, is both essential and vital, and we, as European citizens, feel that this is what democracy is about: this kind of interaction between deputies and us.

"Our pledge is to continue with this Campaign until the voice of humanity and common sense is heard in the right places - until people in Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel can at last start a life without the threat of rockets, missiles, and devastating bombings and raids."