We have belatedly come across – but were pleased to see – an emergency motion put to the LibDem’s autumn conference in September by Cheltenham MP, Martin Horwood – “A Holistic Pathway to Peace in the Middle East” – and approved by them.
It develops the party’s policy across the whole of the Middle East taking into account the current situation. On Palestine it:
- Condemns the recent conflict in Gaza, particularly the indiscriminate firing of thousands of rockets into Israel by Hamas, Israel’s disproportionate military response and the high number of civilian casualties;
- Condemns the annexation of more land in the West Bank by Israel to develop further illegal settlements;
- Notes with concern the severity of the humanitarian disasters that have been created by conflicts and instability in the region.
Among several recommendations the motion calls on the UK Government to apply continued pressure on Israel to cease its illegal acquisition of land in the West Bank. It also ask the Government to encourage the EU to recognise the State of Palestine within pre-1967 borders, with negotiated land swaps on the basis of each side’s entitlements under international law.
The motion can be criticised as being rather weak when compared to that passed by the EU on Gaza in September and with the contribution by many of Martin’s fellow MPs to the debate in Parliament in October. And it is disappointing that Martin didn’t think to tell any of us who write to him regularly on Palestine about his success in getting the motion carried. Nonetheless it will be a good starting point for our discussion when we meet Martin on 11 December.
Click here to read the motion, listen to Martin and hear the debate: http://www.libdems.org.uk/f35a_a_holistic_pathway_to_peace_in_the_middle_east