MPs urged the UK government to “put a cost” on Israeli violations of international law in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) during a debate on home demolitions yesterday.
The debate, which officially addressed “the effect of Israeli demolitions on Palestinian communities”, saw cross-party criticism of Israeli actions in the oPt, and demands for government action.
“Condemnation alone is not enough,” said Labor MP Stephen Kinnock, who tabled the debate. “What has decades of condemning illegal settlement expansion led to? A mushrooming of settlements across the Palestinian territory and 600,000 illegal settlers.”
New Amnesty UK campaign website – calling for ban on imports from Israeli settlements (as done by EU for Crimea) https://t.co/OZru6aFiBJ
— Martin Konecny (@MartinKonecny) October 18, 2017
Kinnock urged British officials to “disincentivize the settlement enterprise and put a cost on the violation of international law”, adding: “We in this House can no longer stand by and do nothing.”
“What I really hope is that the Government will close the gap between rhetoric and reality,” Kinnock said, directing his remarks to Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt.
“We now need to turn that belief into concrete action and finally start to make progress on the desperate and challenging situation in the illegally occupied territories of the West Bank.”
Lush vegetation and well irrigated farms in illegal Israeli settlements, water shortages and parched crops in Occupied Palestinian Territories. This is why UK should Ban Israeli Settlement Goods: https://t.co/WXmReOoHlV pic.twitter.com/BnzLL72aTW
— Jon Cornejo (@Jon_Cornejo) November 30, 2017
The debate heard considerable concern about planned Israeli demolitions of entire Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank, such as Susiya and Khan Al-Ahmar.
Labour MP Naz Shah, citing Amnesty International, stressed that the demolition of Palestinian communities constitute “a war crime”, adding: “These are children who will be displaced from their families in the middle of winter with nowhere to go. It is an illegal act.”
On International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, tell the UK government they must do more to end human rights abuses against Palestinians caused by illegal Israeli settlements. Take action now: https://t.co/eeFjoZPjj7 #Israel #Palestine pic.twitter.com/dblDlcM9Om
— Amnesty UK (@AmnestyUK) November 29, 2017
Responding on behalf of the government, Burt described Israel’s demolitions of Palestinian homes as “entirely unacceptable”, adding that “in all but the most exceptional cases, they are contrary to international humanitarian law”.
The minister did not, however, say anything to suggest that UK government opposition would escalate beyond calling on Israel “not to go ahead with these plans”.
(MEMO, PC, Social Media)