Periodically the Palestine Solidarity Campaign asks members and supporters to write to our MPs about issues of concern. These are responses to two of our members. If anyone has heard from Barry Gardiner (Brent North) please let us know.
Tulip Siddiq MP (Hampstead & Kilburn)
Thank you so much for writing to me regarding the heart-breaking reports of Palestinian children being killed and subject to violence as a result of the continued Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
It has been devastating to watch the escalation of violence in Jerusalem, Israel and Gaza over recent months and to hear reports of a spike in the number of child fatalities. Though it was incredibly distressing to read, I appreciate you sharing the cases of those children reported to have been brutally killed by Israeli forces. My thoughts are with the families who have lost loved ones and all those affected by this tragedy.
The targeting of civilians and the loss of innocent life on all accounts is deplorable, but the killing of children is especially heinous and should instigate strong action from the international community. These continued attacks are an undisputable violation of international law.
I believe there must be a renewed focus on negotiating a two-state solution that ensures a safe and secure Israel alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state. I am disappointed that despite the House of Commons voting for a two-state solution and in favour of the recognition of Palestine in 2014, the UK Government has not recognised this statehood and even abstained in the UN General Assembly vote that granted Palestine non-member observer status.
I am a firm supporter of Palestinian rights and an advocate for a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians. A secure Israel alongside a viable Palestinian state is, I believe, the only way to secure a meaningful and long-lasting peace. I will therefore continue working with my Labour colleagues for the Government to take strong action and support a coordinated international effort towards a two-state solution.
On the specific issue of UK arms trade with Israel, during the violence in spring last year, I supported calls for the Government to report to Parliament with an assessment of the use of any exported arms and equipment in the conflict and for it to examine the risks involved in any future arms sales to the Israeli security forces.
The Government says it takes its export control responsibilities very seriously and that it considers all export applications thoroughly against a strict risk assessment framework. However, I believe it has failed to address weaknesses in the current rules that have repeatedly been highlighted. I therefore believe we need a new arms export regime that is truly transparent, free from arbitrary political judgments and reflects our commitment to upholding international law.
I believe such a report was needed because there is a legal framework that must be followed when it comes to arms sales. I would have liked to see Government Ministers review what type of weapons the UK sells to Israel, and whether there is a risk they will be used to violate international law. If Ministers find that is the case, then they have not just a moral duty to stop those arms sales, but a legal requirement to do so as well. I believe such a review would have been important so we could know whether Ministers were meeting their legal duties.
Thank you again for getting in touch about this important issue, and please let me know should you have any further questions or concerns.
Office of Tulip Siddiq MP
Member of Parliament for Hampstead and Kilburn
Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury and City Minister
Dawn Butler MP (Brent Central)
you for contacting me about the location of the British Embassy in Israel.
As you know, the British Embassy in Israel is in Tel Aviv. I am aware that the previous Prime Minister said she intended to review the location of the embassy. However, the Government has recently confirmed that it has no plans to move the British Embassy in Israel from its current location.
I believe President Trump’s decision in 2017 to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem dealt a hammer blow to hopes of securing a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine.
I am opposed to Israel’s continued occupation of East Jerusalem. The final status of the city should be determined by a negotiated settlement between Israel and Palestine. I do not believe there should be any prospect of moving the embassy until the final status of Jerusalem has been determined.
These issues serve to remind us of the importance of securing a peaceful and lasting two-state solution. To that end, I believe the Government should finally acknowledge the need to recognise Palestinian statehood, as nearly 140 other countries have done.
Thank you once again for contacting me.
Dawn Butler MP
Labour Member of Parliament for Brent Central