Asking the Questions

Dear Members

First the astonishing news that Baroness Neuberger and Lord Carlile, who were due to hold a meeting with MP David Ward, in order to ‘re-educate’ him in ‘sensitivity and language training’ apparently no longer wish to do so. No explanation has been given….

Meanwhile David continues to ask the important questions in Parliament:

The language of the answering Ministers does not change: ‘‘deeply concerned… pressure…. argument…’’ though Alan Duncan is known to be completely aware of the Palestinian situation and said to be both sympathetic and extremely angry…….. William Hague was said to have visited the West Bank recently and spoken with a Bedouin family: presumably some of the 40,000 Bedouin whom the Israelis are planning to move into townships.

Israeli government spin on the proposed forced transfer of the Bedouin is: ‘‘The Plan aims to improve living conditions for Bedouins currently living in unrecognized villages, lacking necessary infrastructure….’’ Last week British Friends of Rabbis for Human Rights wrote an open letter to Netanyahu to protest.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel ( ACRI) has a good information sheet on this:

We are now one year on from the FCO – sponsored report Children in Military Custody.

At a Parliamentary meeting last night Jude Lanchin, one of the delegates reported that little had altered apart from two new military orders which made little practical difference. So we need to continue to press MPs to ask questions on progress: of the 40 recommendations the Report makes, the most crucial is that ‘‘interrogations should be audio-visually recorded’’. Geoffrey Bindman QC made the point that we should probably see the methods of child arrest and detention as deliberately strategic, part of Israel’s continuing desire to control and Occupy.

While the news on civilian and child casualties remains hideous in Syria we are trying not to let it bury the news from Palestine: where children are routinely and brutally killed and injured.

Jenny Tonge got an Oral Question in on this topic yesterday, at the time of writing not yet in Hansard… but as recorded in ‘‘They Work for You..’’


Most recent appearances

Gaza — Question (18 Jun 2013)
“To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with European partners regarding the right to security for Palestinian children living in the Gaza Strip.”
Gaza — Question (18 Jun 2013)
“I thank the Minister for that response. Is she aware that 1,519 Palestinian children have been killed by Israeli action since September 2000, 109 of them during extrajudicial assassination attempts, and that last year alone 43 children were killed, 18 of them under nine years old? Is she also aware that over 10% of under-five year-olds in Gaza suffer from malnutrition and stunting, and that a…”
Gaza – Question (18 Jun 2013)
Baroness Tonge: …of them during extrajudicial assassination attempts,
and that last year alone 43 children were killed, 18 of them under nine
years old? Is she also aware that over 10% of under-five year-olds in
*Gaza* suffer from malnutrition and stunting, and that a child in
occupied *Palestine* as a whole is five times more likely to die before
the age of five than an Israeli child? I am anxious to know…


In Israel the Deputy Defence Minister Danny Dalon has said openly that the coalition government was totally opposed to the two-state solution, and Naftali Bennett, leader of the Habayit Hayehudi ( Jewish Home) party has said, ‘‘the idea that a Palestinian state will be formed…… has come to a dead end’’. Haaretz reports the fall out:

But not everyone thinks an end to negotiations is a good idea: top businessmen are complaining that soon no-one will want to do business with Israel:

All Palestinian issues can be further and informally discussed at the supper we are having at the Maramia cafe, the Palestinian restaurant in the Golbourne Road, next week, Wednesday 26 June. I apologise for the way the date has shifted – there is a lot of pro-Palestinian activity that week and we are trying not to clash. Should anyone wish to attend please send me an email so I can keep a tally on numbers. David Ward has said he would be delighted to join us.

Sally FitzHarris

Secretary, Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine