Britain and Israel
- Foreign Secretary William Hague visited Israel and the Occupied West Bank last week.
- See summaries from the BBC (incl. video) and the Guardian.
- Read comment pieces by Stephen Pollard, “William Hague is an enemy of Iran, and that’s good enough for Israel”, and David Pratt, “It is criminal how Britain grovels to Israeli bullying”.
- Universal Jurisdiction remains the issue in British-Israeli relations.
- William Hague: Changes to the legislation “will be in place next year”.
- Labour leader Ed Miliband this week: “I don’t think the current situation is a good one to be in. Clearly not.”
- EDM 108:
- Wednesday’s editorial in the Jerusalem Post: “William Hague is thoroughly welcome here. His Israeli counterparts have the right to expect precisely the same hospitality in the UK.”
- Well, not if war crimes are an issue.
- Has your MP signed EDM108?
- This Early Day Motion “…believes that universal jurisdiction for human rights abuses is essential as part of the cause of bringing to justice those who commit crimes against humanity and will oppose any legislation to restrict this power of UK courts.”
- If your MP has not, use PSC’s excellent e-tool and tell them to do so.
- Baroness Jenny Tonge tabled a question asking the Government “What representations they have made to the government of Israel concerning the four Palestinian Members of Parliament being deported from East Jerusalem?”
- The ensuing debate, which includes important contributions from Lib Dems Lord Dykes, Lord Phillips and Lord Wallace makes for instructive reading.
- Lib Dem MP David Ward asked after the same issue in the Commons. Ward visited Gaza in October as part of a parliamentary delegation led by CAABU.
- In the Lords, members debated Lord Hylton’s question that asked the Government “whether they will work for a comprehensive agreement covering all refugees arising from the Middle East since 1948.”
- The following debate touched on the issues of ‘The Right of Return’, Jews in Muslim-majority countries, the illegal West Bank settlements, and the Palestinian populations in Jordan and Lebanon.
- Baroness Verma spoke on Palestinian access to water and sanitation in the West Bank: “[It] is severely constrained by Israeli movement and access restrictions, particularly in Area C, covering 62 per cent of the West Bank, and around Israeli settlement blocks. Israel has eased some restrictions on movement and access in the West Bank, but we call on them to go further.”
- In the Commons, Alastair Burt reiterated that official UK policy on the Peace Talks is to “do all that we can to support progress towards a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”.
- Interestingly, Burt also noted that: “This conflict matters to British national security and we will take every opportunity to help promote peace.”
- Minister of State for International Development, Alan Duncan, said in a written response about the humanitarian situation in Gaza: Approximately 75% of Gazans are dependent on food aid and cannot obtain materials needed to rebuild their homes. The water and sewage system is dilapidated, with 90% of mains water unfit for drinking. Many people continue to suffer from post-traumatic stress and other psychological disorders.
- Lib Dem Presidential hopeful Tim Farron tells LDFP that, if elected, “I will ensure that within the coalition the Liberal Democrats seek to influence policy to move towards seeking a peaceful two state solution and speaking out against abuses”. See our presidential election page here. We are yet to hear from Tim’s rival Susan Kramer regarding her views on Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
- Check the incisive piece on Avigdor Lieberman on Joshua Landis’ brilliant ‘Syria Comment’ blog, “Here are five reasons why I believe Netanyahu chose Lieberman as Israel’s Foreign Minister, and for now, prefers to keep him there”.
- Watch the video interview with Haneen Zoabi (Arab-Israeli MK) on EI. Zoabi argues that: “there is now “no chance” for a two-state solution in Palestine.”
- Ever wondered about the economics of the Occupation? Read the report, “Financing the Israeli Occupation“ by the Coalition of Women for Peace available from Al-Zaytouna, or the EI review of Shir Hever’s “The Political Economy of Israel’s Occupation”.
- And finally, Israel’s Labour Party threatens to walk out of the coalition government unless negotiations with the Palestinians get under way.
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