Sadeel Ghassan Turkman is a name that will be unfamiliar to most of our readers. She is not a billionaire lost on some thrill-seeking adventure, she is not an MP. She is a nobody. And now she is a dead nobody, shot dead by Israeli troops in Jenin. Sadeel was just 15 years old. She died in Jenin during a raid by Israeli soldiers.

The 15-year-old Palestinian girl died from her wounds on Wednesday, after being shot in the head during a raid, bringing the death toll from the attack at the start of the week on the occupied West Bank city of Jenin to seven, according to Middle East Eye.

The story, which was not covered at all in the mainstream media in the UK, is yet another death at the hands of Israeli soldiers. Middle East Eye reports that an Israeli security source speaking anonymously to Army Radio said that the chances that Israeli forces hit the girl were “low”. This is strange as they were the only ones using rifles in Jenin at the time.

As Middle East Eye points out, investigations into previous deaths at the hands of the Israeli military have rarely led to any decisive action. A 15-year-old was killed in Nablus in April 2023, whilst a two-year-old, Mohammed Tamimi, was killed when Israelis mistook him for a gunman. According to the Israelis, the two-year old was killed “unintentionally”, but the soldier who fired the fatal shot was reprimanded for “firing his weapon into the air”.

In February 2022 Amnesty International declared that what Israel was doing to the Palestinians “amounts to apartheid as prohibited in international law”. In March 2022 United Nations Special Rapporteur, Michael Lynk, declared Israel an apartheid state, pointing out: “There is today in the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967 a deeply discriminatory dual legal and political system that privileges the 700,000 Israeli Jewish settlers living in the 300 illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.”

We like to think that fair-minded Britons have always been appalled by apartheid and that it was our support which brought an end to it in South Africa. We should not forget that then Tory Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, regarded Nelson Mandela as a “terrorist”, a convenient catch-all term for anybody you disagree with and who fights back.

Israel continues to ignore international law as expressed by the United Nations in numerous resolutions. In 2022 alone 15 resolutions critical of Israel and calling on them to end their illegal occupation of the West Bank were passed by the UN. Israeli troops continue to kill with impunity and the Palestinians are forced to live somewhere the Norwegian Refugee Council has described as the world’s largest open-air prison. The response of the UK Government is to outlaw the actions of people who feel that they want nothing to do with such a state.

The Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill which effectively outlaws a boycott of Israel by public bodies will certainly become law, not least because it is unlikely to face any challenge from the official opposition, who appear to think that being the opposition means being as much like the other side as possible. Michael Gove was quoted by the Telegraph as saying that the boycott of goods from Israel leads to “appalling antisemitic rhetoric and abuse”. But he offered no proof of this.

This Bill, when it becomes an Act shortly, is an appalling piece of legislation that places the demands of big business above those of people like Sadeel Ghassan Turkman or Mohammed Tamimi. Undermining the Israeli apartheid regime is a moral imperative, not just for socialists, but for anybody who believes in human rights. The Tories have a track record of supporting terrorist states; that Labour is now parroting them shows that our democracy is now revealed as a sham, which offers nothing but the same or worse for ordinary people, whilst protecting the rich, the powerful, and the bigoted.

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