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“As an internationalist and democratic socialist party, it is the responsibility of the Labour Party to speak up for Palestine and stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their fundamental rights, including to self-determination.
Earlier this year, the international community and labour movement widely condemned Israel’s militarised violence against the Palestinian people, including the attacking of the Al Aqsa mosque, the forced displacements from Sheikh Jarrah and the deadly assault on Gaza.
The seriousness of the situation facing the people of Palestine is confirmed by the fact the International Criminal Court is holding an inquiry into abuses committed in the occupied Palestinian Territories since 2014.
The continuing de facto annexation of Palestinian land by accelerated settlement building alongside statements of Israel’s continuing intention to proceed with annexation, show it is clearer than ever that the Israeli State is intent on eliminating any prospects of Palestinian self-determination.
Major reports by Human Rights Watch and the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem have added weight to the TUC’s warning that Israel taking these steps would represent ‘another significant step’ towards the UN Crime of Apartheid and strengthen the Palestinian call for the ICC to investigate.
Labour must build on – not step back from – its commitments to immediate recognition of the state of Palestine and an end to the blockade, occupation and settlements as outlined in the 2017 and 2019 manifestos, and in the motions passed by the Party’s annual conferences in 2018 and 2019.
We must support “effective measures” including sanctions, as called for by Palestinian civil society, against actions by the Israeli state that are illegal according to international law. This must include action to ensure that Israel stops the building of settlements, reverses any annexation, ends the occupation of the West Bank, ceases the blockade of Gaza, brings down the Wall and respects the right of refugees to return to their homes under international law.”
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Since our foundation, Labour & Palestine has campaigned on the basis of the need for an ethical foreign policy for Labour, which must have securing freedom, justice and equality for the people of Palestine as a priority. This must be done within an anti-racist framework based on the principles of equality, human rights and international law.
In particular, an ethical foreign policy for Labour must recognise that there can be no end to the oppression of Palestinian people whilst there is a continuation of the occupation of East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank, the denial of full equality to all Palestinians – including those who are citizens of Israel and a failure to recognise the rights of Palestinian refugees.
Concretely, action is needed now due to Israel’s continuing illegal actions and Labour should adhere to an ethical policy on all UK trade with Israel, including stopping any arms trade used to violate Palestinian human rights. A policy on Palestine driven by support for human rights and international law means applying these principles to UK trade with Israel, including applying international law fully to the settlements and any trade agreements.
Now is the time for Labour to step up to its duty is to support the oppressed challenging the discrimination they face, backing a just solution for the people of Palestine based on self-determination for Palestine and equality and human rights for all. For this reason Labour & Palestine is circulating the new statement above – please add your name!
- Labour & Palestine is supported by Aslef, BFAWU, CWU, NUM, TSSA, Unison and Unite.