Turning their backs to the slaughter of Syrians

The slaughter in Syria is horrific. Every day brings a report of a new massacre – women and children executed, the Syrian regime shelling whole residential neighbourhoods. According to estimates, at least 14,000 people have been killed – of which 10,000 were civilians. These are astonishingly high numbers and they are increasing by several hundred a week.

Apart from Russia and Iran, the Syrian regime doesn’t have many supporters left. The EU and US have called for Assad to step down and condemned the regime, and Arab countries (as well as Turkey) have been among the most vocal opponents of Assad.

So it’s particularly strange to see Members of the Scottish Parliament choose now to support Assad’s Syria by attacking Israeli control over the Golan Heights. The heights were captured from Syria during the Six Day War. In the late 1990s, Israel and Syria came very close to a peace deal that would have seen the Golan transferred back to Syrian control, but the deal fell through after Hafez Assad – Bashar’s father – walked away.

The MSPs have put a motion to the Scottish Parliament condemning Eden Springs UK. Eden Springs is part of the same corporate group as Israel’s Eden Springs, which sells bottled water in Israel. Some of this water comes from springs in the Golan Heights.

The short motion is full of mistakes:

  • Eden Springs UK gets all its water from springs in the UK, including Scotland. It doesn’t import water from Israel.
  • The motions says the Golan “has been illegally occupied by Israel since 1967” – which is plain wrong.
  • The motion quotes Article 55 of the Hague Conventions, but Article 55 says that using spring-water from an occupied territory is lawful (as a renewing resource, using spring-water is considered usufruct)

But mistakes aside, it’s disturbing that there are people who, after hearing of the charnel house in Houla, Hama and al-Qubayr, immediately decide to attack Israel for not being nicer to Syria.

At least they are more honest (or more shameless) than the National Union of Students Executive, which passed a boycott of Eden Springs last month. The Scottish Parliament motion refers to the “Syrian Golan”. NUS’s motion didn’t even mention the word “Syria” once.

The timing seems almost too convenient. Have Syria’s intelligence and PR organs been pushing this message onto naïve dupes in NUS and the Scottish Parliament? It’s worth noting that Assad has tried to blame the Syrian uprising on ‘Zionists’. Or are the supporters of this new anti-Israel campaign simply heartless?

The Israeli Government is making preparations to receive Syrian refugees in the Golan. The idea that Israel should be offering to return the Golan Heights to Assad, the Butcher of Houla  and al-Qubayr, is both disturbing and disgusting.

Those campaigners who have chosen now to attack Israel over the Golan aren’t supporting the Syrian people; they are turning their backs on them, closing their ears to their screams .They should be utterly ashamed.

Leave a Reply