Posted on 07 November 2010.
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.
Posted in Eye on Palestine
Posted on 31 October 2010.
- William Hague will be visiting Israeli government representatives next week. Jenni Frazer wonders ‘Will anyone care?’ in the Jewish Chronicle, while MEMO have posted a piece ‘Mr. Hague, this is what you should say to the Israelis next week‘.
- Have any ideas what Mr Hague should say? Why not email him…?
- Nick Clegg seems set to continue his friendship with Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel, appearing at their parliamentary luncheon. Why not email him about Liberal Democrat foreign policy, too?
PSC: Lobby your MP
- Contact your MP now to ask for a meeting at the House of Commons on 24th November, between 2pm and 6pm, using PSC’s email tool. Alternatively, you can call the office of your local MP and request a meeting personally.
- Once you’ve arranged a meeting with your MP, please email email@example.com so PSC can keep a track of which meetings are taking place.
- Want to know how to lobby effectively? Read PSC’s guide here.
Posted in Eye on Palestine
Posted on 24 October 2010.
No Change to Universal Jurisdiction
- Read our briefing about the legal power that allows suspected perpetrators of crimes such as war crimes, torture and genocide to be prosecuted in the national courts of countries other than those where the alleged crimes were committed.
- Under ‘intense pressure’ from the US and Israel, the Conservatives are seeking to dilute this important power.
- Use PSC’s fantastic e-tool to email your MP, calling upon them to make public their opposition to any change in the law on universal jurisdiction.
Israel’s loyalty oath
- Israeli Arab MK Ahmed Tibi writes: ‘Loyalty oath relegates Israel’s Palestinian citizens to inferior status’
- British film-maker Mike Leigh has cancelled a trip to Israel in protest against the controversial plan.
- Interesting analysis piece from Jonathan Cook: ‘the self-declared Jewish state qualifies not as a liberal democracy but as a much rarer political entity: an ethnocracy.’
West Bank Settlements
- According to MEMO, Israeli bulldozers have razed more land for housing units north of Shalit. UN envoy Robert Serry describes the flurry of post-moratorium developments as ‘alarming’.
- Read this excellent UN factsheet, ‘The Case of Sheikh Jarrah: October 2010‘ from the Ofﬁce for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in occupied Palestinian territory. Sheikh Jarrah is an East Jerusalem neighbourhood where ‘settler organizations have stated their intent to build at least 540 settlement units… placing an estimated 475 Palestinians at risk of forced eviction, dispossession and displacement’.
- According to EI, Israeli police are now recruiting from the illegal settlements in the West Bank.
- In evidence that frequently contradicted his own earlier affidavits the Israeli soldier in bulldozer who crushed Rachel Corrie claims in court that he ‘did not see her’.
- According to AFP, Hamas security forces raided and shut down the headquarters of the Palestinian Journalists Union in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday.
- The family of Gilad Shalit, the soldier seized by Gaza militants in 2006, sharply criticised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for not securing his release despite the disclosure that a German mediator had renewed contact with both sides.
Posted in Eye on Palestine
Posted on 09 October 2010.
On the Conferences
- Check out the footage of our fantastic conference event, hosted by Chris Davies MEP, ‘The Strangling of Bethlehem: Is it time for sanctions?’ – now available online.
- Last week saw the Conservative party conference in Birmingham. Conservative Friends of Israel, “the most well-connected and probably the best funded of all Westminster lobbying groups” (Channel 4’s Dispatches), held its Annual Delegates Reception which included speeches from William Hague and Alistair Burt. See the awkwardly proportioned photos here.
- Universal Jurisdiction: Justice Secretary Ken Clarke is expected to table new legislation in the House of Commons in coming weeks. Check out our briefing on the importance of Universal Jurisdiction and lobby your MP now! Unsure of your MP? Look here.
- Conservative Middle East Council held a well-attended event with CAABU about ‘Britain and the Middle East: a 21st Century Relationship’.
- Alan Duncan, Minister for State for International Development and regarded as a dissident within the Conservative party on Middle East issues, spoke of DFID’s support of the Palestinians at the MAP/New Statesman event. Read more here.
- Discussing the main parties’ conferences, MEMO comments that on Palestinian issues Nick Clegg “was arguably the least impressive of the leaders”, noting his preference for LDFI over LDFP – this year, at least. Martin Bright of the Jewish Chronicle, meanwhile, has decided that: “The Lib Dems won few friends in the Jewish community during the election and issues such as universal jurisdiction, faith schools and anti-terror legislation could yet open up fissures in the coalition. The Jewish community may prefer to ignore the Lib Dems, but it will do so at its peril.”
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Posted in Eye on Palestine