The Palestine/Israel debate in parliament 13 October

Some MPs said that they had been unundated with letters and emails from their constituents …

Some quotes from the debate

…… Is it any wonder that confidence in a two-state solution is draining away when the Israelis push ahead with illegal settlements in the west bank? Is it any wonder that confidence is draining away when Bedouin Arabs in the E1 area live in fear of being moved on, and are not allowed to build proper schools for their children and so are forced to build them out of recycled tyres? Is it any wonder that confidence is draining away when those same Arabs put up swings for their children, and because they are denied the relevant permit from the authorities, the Israeli authorities come and take down the swings that the children play on? Is it any wonder that confidence is draining away when we see a conflict in Gaza that leads to 110,000 displaced Palestinians and the destruction of 22 schools?….(Jonathan Ashworth (Leicester South) (Lab))

‘My other Damascus moment came when I was standing at the Bethlehem checkpoint and saw the appalling humiliation heaped on Palestinian people. I spoke to a nurse at a hospital I visited as part of a charity I ran. She lived in Bethlehem, just a few miles from Jerusalem. It was just a short walk away, but she was never able to go to the city without enormous difficulties’ …. ‘now is the time to recognise the justice of the Palestinians’ case.’ (Sir Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) (Con))

….. recent events in Gaza and the continued, determined pursuit of illegal settlement building by the Netanyahu Government must influence us, but there is a deeper reason to support the motion, especially as crises escalate across the region….if we are to tell Arabs across the region to reject extremism, rockets, bombs and massacres that are deliberately aimed at killing defenceless civilians, we must also do more to support the moderate, democratic, pluralist leaders, such as Mahmoud Abbas, who have painstakingly pursued the diplomatic path towards peace and self-determination. (Martin Horwood (Cheltenham) (LD))

‘Over the past weeks my in-box has been flooded with hundreds of letters from my constituents. Their strength of feeling is undeniable, their arguments are heartfelt, and their conviction is deep-seated — and for good reason. I share those arguments and that conviction.’ (Lyn Brown (West Ham) (Lab))

And an interesting perspective from Andy McDonald:
‘My father served with the Army in Palestine from 1945 to 1948 during the currency of the British mandate. He did not say much about it, but he did tell me that, at the end of his tour of duty, he had a chit for leave to spend a last night in Jerusalem. However, his comrade pleaded with him to let him have the chit as he wanted to see a girl in town. He had fallen in love with her and did not know when he might see her again, so he was desperate. My dad let him have his chit, but sadly the vehicle that took the soldiers into town that night was attacked by terrorists and the seat that the love-struck soldier sat in bore the brunt of the attack and he was killed outright. That could have been my dad’s seat. There were other terrorist attacks—on trains and, famously, on the King David hotel. Among the terrorists were Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, both of whom went on the hold the highest office in the newly formed state of Israel. The point I am making is that committed individuals and groups who pursue self-determination might at one time be deemed to be terrorists but then perceived as freedom fighters and, ultimately, statesmen. We need look no further than the journey made by the great Nelson Mandela, as well as taking a glance across the water to the island of Ireland.’
(Andy McDonald (Middlesbrough) (Lab))

Well worth reading and good to see many of our concerns raised by our MPs, whether or not you feel that a two state solution is possible.

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