Israeli citizen calls on SIC councillors to back ceasefire motion

An Israeli citizen who divides his time between Shetland and Jaffa has urged SIC members to vote in favour of a ceasefire motion when it is discussed next week.

Fred Schlomka wrote to councillors yesterday (Thursday) to voice his support for the motion, which is being presented by Shetland South member Alex Armitage.

The motion, which has been seconded by Shetland Central councillor Ian Scott, calls for “an immediate and permanent ceasefire by all parties in Israel/Palestine”.

It also calls for the provision of humanitarian aid and the release of all hostages.

A previous attempts to call a similar motion was rejected, with convener Andrea Manson saying there were pressing issues for the council to focus on closer to home.

But with the crisis in Gaza worsening since then, with 28,000 Palestinians confirmed dead – more than the entire Shetland population – the support for a ceasefire has increased.

Leanne Sydonie-Goodlad launched a petition supporting the councillors’ motion, writing in today’s edition of The Shetland Times to say “all in our power should be done to prevent escalating the humanitarian cost of this crisis”.

Now Mr Schlomka’s intervention adds even more weight to the motion.

He has questioned how anyone on the council could support the continuation of “this humanitarian catastrophe”.

While acknowledging the Hama attack on 7th October was a “crime of huge proportions” Mr Schlomka has questioned the scale of the Israel’s response.

The urged councillors to consider the situation in the UK in the 1970s when the IRA was bombing civilians in English cities.

“Would you have supported the UK government if they had sent in fighter jets to attack communities in Ireland where the IRA was based?” he asked.

“Would you have supported turning Dublin into a pile of rubble with thousands of civilian deaths?

“If your answer is ‘of course not’, then we need to hear your vocal opposition to the attacks on the people of Gaza.”

Mr Schlomka’s family were Palestinian immigrants who came to Edinburgh in 1948, fleeing the destruction and war after the British left Palestine.

He returned in the 1970s and has lived in Israel and Palestine about half of his life. 

Splitting his time between Unst and Jaffa, Israel, where he is currently, Mr Schlomka is part of the Green Olive Collective – a group of Palestinians and Israelis devoted to ending the Israeli colonisation of Palestinian lands.

They are calling for a democracy where all people can live in “dignity, equality with respect for human rights”.

Mr Schlomka visited the Gaza border area on Tuesday and talked to soldiers and residents.

“There is a horrific scenario emerging there,” he said.

“The 28,000 confirmed dead is only the tip of the iceberg.

“Under the rubble that was once Gaza City, and other areas, there are likely thousands more dead.

“Malnutrition is rampant and the Israeli authorities are limiting the entry of humanitarian aid.

“Of the 2.5 million population, almost two million are homeless.

“There are few resources, and the spectre of disease has only just begun.

“It is entirely possible that eventually more people will die of starvation and disease, than from Israeli attacks.

“It is unconscionable that people of goodwill on the Shetland Island Council (or anywhere) can support the cause of this humanitarian catastrophe.”

The motion will be discussed by members on Thursday.

 Mr Schlomka will be writing a series of articles for The Shetland Times about his experiences in Israel, the first of which is in today’s paper.


Add Your Comment
  • wayne conroy

    • February 16th, 2024 12:54

    Really? One Palestinian born Israeli citizen who works with a group whos main mission is the end to the ongoing displacement of Palestinians adding his voice “adds more weight to this motion”? Is this even newsworthy?

    • wayne conroy

      • February 16th, 2024 21:21

      oh also forgot to mention the green olive collective is also mainly a social enterprise tour company.

  • Don Phee

    • February 16th, 2024 13:56

    What does anyone think this ceasefire motion will accomplish beyond making a bunch of virtue-signalers feel good about themselves? Here’s the answer: Nothing!


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