News and Views

Add your name – Labour must speak up for Palestine!

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Add your name here

“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.”

Add your name here

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.

Justice for Palestine – New Model Motion for CLPs

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In addition to our model motion for Labour Party Conference 2021, please find below our new model motion for general discussions in Labour Party meetings in solidarity with Palestine.

This CLP notes:

  • The international community and international labour movement widely condemned the state of Israel’s latest 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 International Criminal Court’s decision to hold an inquiry into abuses committed in the occupied Palestinian Territories since 2014.
  • The recent report by Human Rights Watch – ‘A Threshold Crossed’ – details how Palestinians are ‘born unequal’, shown recently by the discriminatory approach excluding Palestinians from Israel’s vaccination programme.
  • Clear policy passed at Labour Party Annual Conferences 2018 and 2019 in solidarity with the Palestinian people and against Israel’s ongoing illegal occupation.

This CLP believes:

  • The aggression earlier this year, together with the de facto annexation of Palestinian land by accelerated settlement building and statements of the Israeli state’s intention to proceed with annexation, show it is ever clearer that the Israeli State is intent on eliminating any prospects of Palestinian self-determination.
  • The aforementioned Human Rights Watch report and a further recent report from the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem have added weight to the TUC’s warning that the ongoing Israeli Government’s illegal settlement building and annexation would represent ‘another significant step’ towards the UN Crime of Apartheid.

This CLP resolves:

  • To stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their fundamental rights, including the right to self-determination.
  • That action is needed now due to the Israeli state’s continuing illegal actions and that Labour should adhere to an ethical policy on all UK trade with Israel, including stopping any arms trade used to violate Palestinian human rights.
  • To 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; in particular to ensure that the state of Israel stops the building of settlements, reverses any annexation, ends the occupation of the West Bank, the blockade of Gaza, brings down the Wall and respects the right of refugees to return to their homes under international law.

Labour Fringe 2021 : Speaking Up For Palestine – A Litmus Test for Labour

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Labour & Palestine is pleased to announce details of our fringe meeting at Labour Conference 2021 – kindly hosted by Unite the Union.

Date & Time: Tuesday September 28, 5.30pm.

With: H.E Husam Zomlot, Palestinian Ambassador // Karma Nabulsi, Palestinian Writer & Activist // John McDonnell MP // Kim Johnson MP, Vice-Chair, APPG on Palestine // Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP // Mick Whelan, ASLEF General Secretary & Unions for Labour Chair // Louise Regan, Palestine Solidarity Campaign & National Education Union // Tony Burke, Unite AGS // Gemma Bolton, Labour NEC member // Hugh Lanning, Labour & Palestine // Chair: Simon Dubbins, Labour & Palestine + Unite Director of International.

  • RSVP, share & invite friends on Facebook here.

LABOUR & PALESTINE – MOTION FOR LABOUR CONFERENCE 2021

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Please consider putting our model motion for Labour Conference 2021 to your Constituency Labour Party. The full text of the current version of the motion is below – we may well send out updated versions as the situation develops, but we have been asked by a number of people to send out the below asap, so are currently circulating the below.

The deadline for submitting motions to Conference is September 13, but some CLPs will be discussing their motion very soon, so be sure to find out your local schedule on this. Furthermore, if your CLP is not yet discussing Conference motions, it can also easily be the basis of a general motion on Palestine to your ward or CLP.

“Conference condemns Israel’s militarised violence attacking the Al Aqsa mosque, the forced displacements from Sheikh Jarrah and the deadly assault on Gaza.

Together with the de facto annexation of Palestinian land by accelerated settlement building and statements of Israel’s intention to proceed with annexation, it is ever clearer that Israel is intent on eliminating any prospects of Palestinian self-determination.

Conference notes the TUC 2020 Congress motion describing such settlement building and annexation as ‘another significant step’ towards the UN Crime of Apartheid; reinforced by the recent reports by B’Tselem and the Human Rights Watch, whose report – ‘A Threshold Crossed’, details how Palestinians are ‘born unequal’, shown recently by the discriminatory approach excluding Palestinians from Israel’s vaccination programme.

Conference welcomes the International Criminal Court decision to hold an inquiry into abuses committed in the occupied Palestinian Territories since 2014.

Conference resolves that action is needed now due to Israel’s continuing illegal actions and that Labour should adhere to an ethical policy on all UK trade with Israel, including stopping any arms trade used to violate Palestinian human rights.

Conference resolves to support “effective measures” including sanctions, as called for by Palestinian civil society, against actions by the Israeli government that are illegal according to international law; in particular to ensure that Israel stops the building of settlements, reverses any annexation, ends the occupation of the West Bank, the blockade of Gaza, brings down the Wall and respects the right of refugees to return to their homes under international law.”

Save Sheikh Jarrah – labour movement voices speak out

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We reproduce below a statement signed by ourselves, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, unions and other civil society organisations that calls on British Government to take action over Israel’s ethnic cleansing of neighbourhoods in occupied East Jerusalem.

The statement calls on British Government, public bodies and civil society to recognise the laws of Israel to be inherently discriminatory.


Full Statement: Stop the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem. Save Sheikh Jarrah.

We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned by Israel’s ongoing ethnic cleansing of neighbourhoods in occupied East Jerusalem. The use of illegal and quasi legal means to evict Palestinian families from their homes, in order to replace them with Jewish settlers, is a clear example of demographic manipulation and ethnic cleansing.

Over 1,500 Palestinians from neighbourhoods in Jerusalem are facing the threat of forced displacement and home demolitions by Israeli authorities. Children make up a large percentage of the families threatened with homelessness.

The neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah is just one of those affected. In 1956, Jordan made an agreement with the UNRWA to build houses in Sheikh Jarrah for 28 families who had been dispossessed of their homes in various parts of historic Palestine by Israel. Those families gave up their refugee rations cards on the understanding that the new homes would be given to them and registered in their names.

In 1967, Israel illegally annexed all of East Jerusalem, including Sheikh Jarrah, and shortly afterwards passed the Legal and Administrative Matters Law. Like the Absentees’ Property Law, this facilitates the transfer of property from Palestinians to Jewish Israelis through quasi legal means.

Backed by the state and its discriminatory laws, settler groups have claimed ownership of the land in Sheikh Jarrah and implemented a creeping takeover of Palestinian homes, aided and abetted by Israeli courts and the security forces. Three families, totalling 67 people, were forcibly evicted from Sheikh Jarrah in 2009. The Israeli District Court recently ordered four more families to leave their homes or face eviction in the coming days. Once evicted, those families face additional legal costs and the prospect of having their Jerusalem residency rights revoked.

We call on the British Government, public bodies, and civil society, to hold Israel accountable and take meaningful action to prevent the further ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Jerusalem. This includes recognising the laws of Israel to be inherently discriminatory and used to maintain Jewish Israeli dominance over Palestinians.

Signed by:

  1. Unite the Union
  2. National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT)
  3. GMB Union
  4. National Education Union (NEU)
  5. Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU)
  6. Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS)
  7. Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC)
  8. War on Want
  9. Friends of Al Aqsa
  10. Amos Trust
  11. Sabeel-Kairos
  12. Labour & Palestine
  13. Arab Labour Group
  14. Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions UK (ICAHD)
  15. Jews For Justice For Palestinians (JFJFP)
  16. Stop the War Coalition
  17. British Committee for Universities of Palestine (BRICUP)

Palestine – Labour should loudly put pressure on Biden

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Biden taking over from Trump as US president gives us an opportunity to speak up for Palestinians and ensure Israel complies with international law, writes Hugh Lanning of Labour & Palestine.

Among the many people around the world who will watch eagerly to see if incoming President Joe Biden has a different approach to foreign policy from his reactionary and regressive predecessor will be those from Palestine.

Under President Donald Trump, we saw an immediate hostility to the cause of justice for Palestine and full support for the policies and actions of the government of Israel.

This was best exemplified by Trump’s decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

This was a highly significant move supporting Israel’s ambition to have Jerusalem as its capital, even though Tel Aviv is Israel’s globally recognised capital.

Additionally, funding for the UN’s Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which aids Palestinian refugees, was slashed.

Then we saw the formulation and announcement of his so-called “Deal of the Century,” which provided cover and justification for Israel’s subsequent proposals for large-scale new annexations of Palestinian land in the West Bank.

This one-sided plan was definitely not a “deal.” Rejected by all the Palestinian leadership groups, it seeks to formalise and recognise internationally for the first time Israel’s wished-for borders — based on occupation, annexation and settlements — all illegal under international law.

Its implementation through annexation would leave the disconnected centres of Palestinian population completely encircled and separated and destroy any prospect of a viable, independent Palestinian state.

Such an annexation would not only consolidate the theft of Palestinian land but the intention is still for Israel to maintain military and security control of the whole area, controlling the borders, air and trade.

But these threats will not go away with the departure of Trump.

He might be going, but the plan remains. In reality it was the Israeli government’s agenda that Trump was endorsing, with his plans only differing from Benjamin Netanyahu’s at the margins.

Furthermore, despite Israel’s agreements with the UAE, Bahrain and others — a promise to set aside annexation — the government has made it clear that it will proceed with annexation at some point.

Israel’s continuing and ever rapidly growing illegal settlement expansion programme — another form of “land grab,” stealing land and resources which it has no rights to — tells us that it will indeed proceed.

In an interview since the US election, vice-president-elect Kamala Harris — not historically a friend of Palestine — said the new administration would want to restore relations with Palestine, restore the refugee funding to UNRWA and still, in theory, try to seek a two-state solution.

She went on to say that a Biden administration would oppose annexation and settlement expansion, but no mention was made of moving the US embassy or how a two-state solution might be achieved.

This is a modest but welcome improvement, but opposing the settlements, ending the occupation and the siege of Gaza has been the stated policy — excluding Trump — of Western governments for decades.

Yet the reality is that with each passing decade, Israel has been making any solution but an Israel dominant and a subjugated Palestine less and less possible to achieve.

Now, post-Trump, we must seize the opportunity to proactively raise the issue of Palestine and not be on the defensive.

Our approach must be focused on the key issues of equality, international law and human rights — the issues are very clear and straightforward — and show without doubt that when it comes to Palestine there is an oppressor and the oppressed, namely Israel as an occupier and the Palestinians the occupied.

We must also continue to do what Palestinians ask and both tell their story and enable spaces where Palestinians can tell their story.

They believe if people know the facts the injustice will be recognised and eventually be put right.

Palestinians have not and will not be going anywhere and, in the long-term, it is not tenable for Israel to keep millions of them captive.

This must also be the approach of the Labour Party — in line with the strong motions in support of Palestine passed at its 2018 and 2019 conferences — which should be putting clear pressure on Boris Johnson’s government to strongly oppose the ongoing threat of illegal annexation and the expansion of the settlements programme.

Vital to this is keeping the issue of sanctions on the agenda in line with the Palestinian call this year for “effective measures” to be taken in order to get Israel to comply with international law.

We saw with apartheid in South Africa, despite years of consumer boycotts and divestments campaigns, it was only when governments acted and introduced or threatened sanctions that the final progress was made to ending apartheid.

Historically, Israel has only gone to the negotiating table when under pressure from the US, in particular the questioning of its funding arrangements supporting Israel’s military forces and their occupation of Palestine.

In a welcome first step earlier this year, Lisa Nandy said that the Labour Party would support a ban on settlement goods if annexation goes ahead.

It was the first time the Labour Party has officially committed itself to government action in relation to actions by Israel.

In welcoming it as a first step, I wrote that effectiveness would be the key issue.

Great if has the desired effect, but arms and other trade and sanctions would need to be looked at if it didn’t work.

Now, in the changed circumstances, the same approach must be adopted — both by Labour and internationally.

In relation to settlement-building, Israel has to believe there are potential consequences for its action.

If it can proceed with impunity it will build Palestine out of existence, new incumbent in the White House or not.

As we approach 2021, despite warm words from governments internationally, the reality is that Palestine’s right to self-determination is still denied — there is an internationally recognised state of Israel, but no Palestine.

International action is central to changing this, Labour should be a loud voice putting pressure on the Biden administration to support action aimed at ensuring Israel’s compliance with international law.

Our task then in the year ahead is to build that global support to put right the injustices still inflicted on the Palestinian people by Israel.

Speaking up for Palestine

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By Hugh Lanning, Labour & Palestine

As a campaigner, when closely involved with an issue, it is often difficult to see progress. This is especially the case when the issue is Palestine and you see the ongoing bombing of Gaza, the house demolitions and the threats of annexation.

But if we look narrowly at the political landscape in this country, we can see that support for Palestine is still very strong, despite all the obstacles we face.

Two examples illustrate this – the Labour Party statement on Annexation and the TUC motion passed earlier this month.

I remember when I was first getting active on Palestine in the trade union and labour movement, the TUC’s position was one of balance, and Labour’s almost unadulterated support for the Israeli Government.

So Lisa Nandy’s recent statement that Labour would support a ban on settlement goods if annexation took place was a small, but significant step. As action it will not be enough to make a difference if – or when – Israel goes ahead with annexation. But in political terms, it is the first time that I am aware of that the Labour Party has officially called for Government action of this kind in response to actions by Israel.

There might be a reluctance to call this sanctions, but the dictionary describes sanctions as “measures taken by countries to restrict trade and official contact with a country that has broken international law,” so I’m not sure what else you would call it.

The TUC motion, meanwhile, in denouncing the threat of Annexation, describes it as “another significant step in the creation of a system of apartheid.” So, although TUC policy has come a long way in supporting Palestine over the years, this is the first time it has used apartheid in the context of Israel.

Specifically it reads, “Congress stands united in its full opposition to the Israeli government’s declared intention to annex great swathes of the West Bank, a move that is illegal under international law and that makes clear there is no intent on the part of the Israeli government to end the occupation and recognise the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination. It will be another significant step in the creation of a system of apartheid.”

Indeed, prominent supporters of Israel have publicly expressed concern that annexation would legitimise talk of sanctions and the use of apartheid to describe the reality Israel is creating.

How right they were. But supporters of Palestinian rights must be under no illusion. However it is described, the threat of annexation has not gone away – the physical annexation of Palestine is taking place at an increasing speed.

It is obvious, but also important, to say that Israel’s Government still has a problem – the Palestinians. It can threaten, bomb and annex, but at the end of the day the Palestinians are still there.

Resistance takes many forms, cultural, political, physical – but in the case of the Palestinians the biggest act of resistance is to still be there. They might be imprisoned in Gaza, encircled by walls and occupied, but the very act of remaining poses Israel with a dilemma, which leaves Israel with inequality as the only viable option.

In practice this means to coral and control the Palestinian population into as small a space as possible whilst denying them equal, human and national rights.

As Rashid Khalidi sets out in his excellent book – The Hundred Years War on Palestine – Israel has an ‘illiberal and discriminatory essence’. Inequality is the hardcore on which Israel is built – this is not a nasty accident, it is in the DNA of the Israeli state. It cannot grant equality whilst remaining determined to block the self-determination of the Palestinian people

It also fatally undermines any lingering pretence it has to being a western liberal democracy – as it craves to be recognised. It is all very well normalising relations with the UAE and Bahrain, but they are undemocratic bedfellows.

Therefore equality and democracy are Israel’s Achilles Heel. We can compare Israel to other nasty regimes and talk of the imbalance of power, but our campaigning should be rigorously focussed on that inequality, the absence of equality and democracy for Palestinians, and the denial of their human and national rights.

As a democratic, socialist party that should be Labour’s agenda on Palestine – there can be no solution that does not include full equality.

With CLP meetings resuming online, we need as many constituencies as possible to discuss Palestine. The aforementioned statement from Lisa Nandy and TUC motion provide a good basis for such discussions and we will be circulating a motion and briefing shortly.

The overwhelming majority of Labour Party members support Palestine – our challenge is to make that silent majority visible and vocal.

  • Follow Labour & Palestine at www.twitter.com/LabourPalestine and www.facebook.com/LabourandPalestine
  • EVENT: Justice for Palestine – a conversation between Jeremy Corbyn & Mustafa Barghouti. Thursday October 8, 19.00. Register here – share, invite & RSVP on Facebook here. Jeremy Corbyn & Mustafa Barghouti discuss the need for a progressive response from the global community in the face of the threats faced by Palestine. Organised by Labour & Palestine. Kindly hosted on Zoom & streamed by Arise: A Festival of Labour’s Left ideas.

Palestine: Annexation has not gone away

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By Tony Burke, Unite and Labour & Palestine

The TUC has in the past two weeks has agreed a comprehensive policy on Palestine in regard to the situation in Palestine.

UK unions have always stood with those facing oppression and discrimination and who are fighting in defence of workers and human rights.

We stood with workers in South Africa in the fight against apartheid. We are standing with workers in Colombia where they are struggling to stop the murders and killings of trade unionists and human rights defenders.

And we have stood with Cuba as they fought for the right for their own future – free from aggression and interference.

And today we are standing with workers in Turkey, Syria, Belarus and many other countries as they fight for the same rights.

In recent years the TUC and many affiliated unions have stepped up solidarity work with the Palestinians – and now, with the threat of annexation of large swathes of Palestinian lands by the Israeli state, we must again step up our efforts.

For decades the Israeli state has occupied Palestinian lands and engaged in massive discrimination against the Palestinian people.

Gaza has been under an inhumane blockade for over 10 years and has been regularly bombed and attacked.

In East Jerusalem the Palestinian population is subject to extreme restrictions concerning where they can go to work and where they can live, and their houses are being systematically bulldozed, demolished and taken over.

In the West Bank the Israeli state continues to support the growth and expansion of illegal settlements in an attempt to effectively build Palestine out of existence.

And now the Israeli government has gone a massive step further and laid out its plans to annex huge swathes of Palestine and to officially integrate the area into Israel.

It is has been said that Israel is ‘the only real democracy in the Middle East’ – but can anyone remember the last time that the leader of a democracy went into an general election and openly campaigned with a pledge to actually take over the territory of another country?

So it is absolutely essentially that we make clear our total opposition this move by Israel.

Unions are now committed to join with other progressive forces that are pledged to resist the annexation and that we will work with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and wider civil society towards this goal.

The British government must make it clear that sanctions will follow if this goes ahead, and we must call on the international community to do the same.

Likewise, we will be working with unions internationally to build a mass movement that demands an end to the annexation plans and an end to the occupation and repression.

And let us be clear that the plans for annexation have not been dropped as part of Trump’s so-called ‘deal of the century’ between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

Netanyahu says the annexation is postponed not abandoned it is clear the delay is more to to do with Israeli politics and the pending US presidential election, rather than a U-turn by the Israeli government.

If Trump loses the US election in November, Israel may push ahead with the annexation and try to present Biden with a fait accompli so he cannot reverse the annexation.

Annexation has not gone away, and we have no choice for unions and Labour to step up our support and solidarity with the Palestinian people.

EVENT: Palestine: Why Labour must speak out – against annexation, the siege of Gaza and the arms trade with Israel.

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Monday 21 September, 18:00 – 19:15. Register here.

With: Samia Al-Botmeh, Birzeit University, via Live link from Palestine // Ambassador Husam Zomlot /// Professor Karma Nabulsi // Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP // Hugh Lanning, Labour & Palestine // Tony Burke, Unite Assistant General Secretary // Mick Whelan, ASLEF General Secretary.

Online Labour Fringe Meeting: Palestine: Why Labour must speak out – against annexation, the siege of Gaza and the arms trade with Israel.

Gaza: Now the bombing has stopped, the siege must too

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By the Labour & Palestine Team

Three days ago, the Israeli government agreed to cease its bombing campaign in Gaza. Israeli forces had attacked the strip of land – which is the third most densely populated region in the world – almost every day since the 6th of August.

This is not the first military attack on Palestinians in the area. Israel’s 2014 operation “Protective Edge” killed over 2200 people, nearly a quarter of whom were children, and left 100,000 homeless. The UN also found credible allegations of war crimes committed by Israeli forces. 4 years earlier, operation “Cast Lead” killed over 1400 people and the Israeli military were found to have used white phosphorous incendiary weapons, which are banned under the Geneva Convention.

These successive attacks have exacerbated a humanitarian crisis caused by an illegal land, air and sea blockade imposed since 2007. The 13-year siege of Gaza has meant severe restrictions on movement and imports of basic supplies such as food, medicines and building materials – items which are vital to reconstructing the infrastructure destroyed by successive bombing campaigns.

Palestinians living in Gaza have access to electricity for a maximum of only 4 hours per day. Power shortages have been worsened by the recent bombing of the Gaza Power Plant – the siege has meant that fuel for backup generators has been scarce. As Jamie McGoldrick, the UN’s Humanitarian crisis coordinator, notes, this has further adversely affected water and sewage treatment – greatly limiting access to clean water – and has severely damaged medical infrastructure at a time when it is needed to deal with the covid-19 crisis.

While the end of the bombing campaign is a welcome development it’s not nearly enough; the people of Gaza still live under siege. The Israeli government must lift the illegal blockade and allow vital goods and supplies to get into the strip to end the humanitarian crisis.

The open wound perpetuating the cycle of violence in the region is the repeated denial of the Palestinian’s right to self-determination – not only the blockade of Gaza but also the ongoing occupation of the West Bank which, in June, the new Israeli government declared they would formally annex.

The annexation proposals came after President Trump’s so-called ‘deal of the century’. The plan would formally recognise Israeli settlements – which are currently illegal – in approximately 30% of the West Bank and make the Jordan Valley a territory of Israel. It sits alongside other proposals to make Jerusalem the “undivided” Israeli capital and refuse Palestinian refugees the right of return to the homes taken from them. No wonder not one Palestinian organisation supported the deal – certainly none were included in its conception.

The annexations have now been suspended, seemingly in return for UAE normalising its economic and diplomatic relationships with the Israeli government. However, after the announcement of the pause, Israel’s Prime Minster, Benjamin Netanyahu said that ‘there is no change to my plan to extend sovereignty, our sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, in full coordination with the United States.’ The land grab is still very much on the table.

The Palestinian people have suffered decades of occupation and siege. The Labour Party must speak up for their right to self-determination – a right denied to them for so long. We should also join calls for the UK to stop arming Israel. The Campaign Against the Arms Trade has shown that the British government has granted over £386 million worth of weapons exports to the Israeli military. This must end.

It’s also vital we provide more platforms for Palestinian people to tell their story and explain the realities of life under occupation. Time and time again, Palestinians have been shut out of a conversation about their future. Practical solidarity means amplifying these voices and putting them at the heart of our discussion of British foreign policy in the region. It’s time they were listened to.

  • Follow Labour & Palestine on Twitter here and Facebook here.
  • Join the Labour & Palestine online meeting on why Labour must speak up for Palestine on Monday September 21 at 6pm with live link-ups from Palestine. Register here – Facebook info here.