I have been horrified by slaughter of children, women and men by the Israeli Defence Force in Gaza. I have publicly condemned the actions of the IDF on the instructions of the Israeli government. I wrote to the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on the 31st March demanding to know why he had remained silent on the atrocities that weekend and what action the UK government were taking to hold the Israeli government to account at the United Nations Security Council. I didn’t receive a reply from him. After the further killings this month during the Nakba protests, I received a letter from the junior Foreign Office government minister Alistair Burt, which didn’t answer any of my questions and failed to condemn the IDF or Israeli government.
The use of live fire on protesters is barbaric and a clear and obvious breach of international law. There needs to be an urgent independent investigation into the killings and I was ashamed that the UK government abstained on the vote at the UN to establish one. I listened to a cowardly and unacceptable response by the Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt to an urgent question on the abstention in parliament last week.
I have signed the following parliamentary motions (Early Day Motions) in support of the Palestinian people and condemning the actions of the IDF and Israeli government;
Early Day Motion 1318 – https://www.parliament.uk/edm/2017-19/1318 –
Condemnation of the massacre of protestors along the Gaza fence
Early Day Motion 1305 – https://www.parliament.uk/edm/2017-19/1305 –
Calling for an arms embargo on Israel
Early Day Motion 1294 – https://www.parliament.uk/edm/2017-19/1294 –
Asking for the establishment of an independent international inquiry into the killings
Early Day Motion 1264 – https://www.parliament.uk/edm/2017-19/1264
Protesting the killing of protestors on 14th May
Early Day Motion 1258 – https://www.parliament.uk/edm/2017-19/1258
Commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Nakba
Since you elected me in 2015, I have called for a ban on arms sales to Israel. You can read my speech in the arms trade debate here and I have signed Early Day Motion 1305 calling for a ban.
I believe that the UK should;
- Back an immediate investigation sanctioned by the UN Security Council into the actions of the Government of Israel and the IDF in relation to the Gaza killings
- Urgently investigate whether British manufactured weapons were used in Gaza and implement a ban on UK arms sales to Israel
- Renew efforts to revive the currently moribund two state solution, including pressing the Israeli Government to end the blocakade of Gaza and the illegal settlements in the West Bank
The full statement by Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry MP, is below for information.
“We condemn unreservedly the Israeli government for their brutal, lethal and utterly unjustified
actions on the Gaza border, and our thoughts are with all those Palestinians in Gaza whose loved
ones have been killed or injured as a result.
“These actions are made all the worse because they come not as the result of a disproportionate
over-reaction to one day’s protests, but as the culmination of six weeks of an apparently systemic
and deliberate policy of killing and maiming unarmed protestors and bystanders who pose no threat
to the forces at the Gaza border, many of them shot in the back, many of them shot hundreds of
metres from the border, and many of them children.
“Throughout that six-week period, the UN’s Secretary General has been calling for an independent
investigation into these incidents, one that should urgently determine whether international law has
been broken, and hold the Netanyahu government to account for their actions. The UK should lead
calls for the UN Security Council to order such an investigation today.
“These incidents must also be the catalyst for urgent and concerted international pressure on the
Netanyahu government to lift the blockade on Gaza, and end Israel’s illegal occupation of the
Palestinian territories. No longer can Netanyahu act as a law unto himself, under the protection of
the Trump administration, whose decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem today has further
inflamed the situation.
“In the meantime, we urge the Israeli forces serving on the Gaza border to show some long-overdue
responsibility to their fellow human beings, and stop this vicious and utterly avoidable slaughter of
peaceful protesters demanding the right to return to their homes.”