Violence in Israel and Palestine, Debate in the House of Commons, 12 May 2021
Parliament Notes (2)
[Extracts from the Debate]
The Government’s response to this and every other episode in Palestine is completely inadequate. The Palestinians have lived under brutal oppression and apartheid from Israel with the tacit consent of the west for too long, and we have heard the “plague on both your houses” song too many times. Of course we must condemn all violence on both sides, so in that spirit can the Minister tell me whether he thinks it appropriate that the UK grants arms licences that see UK weapons being used in these indiscriminate Israeli attacks on civilians, including children?
Andy Slaughter (Hammersmith, Lab):
If the Foreign Secretary will take action on ethnic cleansing in Xinjiang, why not in Sheikh Jarrah? If the UK Government will impose sanctions for the occupation of Crimea, why do they allow trade with illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories? The Minister rightly condemns the killing of children in Gaza and Israel. Does he recognise that these war crimes spring from an unlawful occupation, and will he now give his full support to the investigation of the International Criminal Court?
After years of persecution and oppression, indiscriminate attacks, a brutal siege of Gaza, the expansion of illegal settlements and the demolition of Palestinian homes, unfair trials, arbitrary detention and restrictions on the freedom of movement, and now the attack on worshippers at the al-Aqsa mosque, tensions in the region are the highest they have ever been. I join others in condemning the escalation of violence and the loss of life, yet the silence of the international community is deafening, even as the Palestinians scream out for help. I have to ask the Minister: how many times will we come back to this House to debate the persecution of the Palestinians, and when will the international community finally wake up?
Crispin Blunt (Reigate, Con)
“If my right hon. Friend examines his statements today and compares them with those made by the Foreign Office 25 years ago in respect of illegal settlements at Har Homa, he will find a remarkable similarity. What has changed is the end of any hope for the Oslo peace process, built out of existence by illegal settlements, and the dominance of factions in both communities of those least committed to justice, security and reconciliation between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. When will the United Kingdom work to achieve real accountability for those breaching international and humanitarian law, including those indiscriminately mortaring the innocent, the disproportionate response by the occupiers to violence by the occupied, and decades of the violation of the fourth Geneva convention that has made a practical mockery of the British policy commitment to a two-state solution.