Weasel words from Douglas Alexander on recognising Palestine

xbrh_RecognisepalestinepicThe good news is that shadow foreign secretary, Douglas Alexander, says at LabourList that “Labour’s consistent support for the principle of recognising Palestinian statehood, as part of continuing steps to achieve a comprehensive negotiated two state solution, is why we will be voting to support the principle of Palestinian statehood when the House of Commons debates the issue on Monday.” The bad news is that he won’t actually implement that principle until he’s good and ready:

The motion before the House on Monday does not commit Labour to immediate recognition of Palestine, or mandate the UK government to immediately bilaterally recognise the State of Palestine, but it does reaffirm Labour’s support for the principle of recognising Palestinian ‎statehood. ‎The timing and the mechanism by which Palestinian recognition takes place will continue to be matter decided by an incoming Labour Government.

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Is your MP voting to recognise Palestine? Here are 17 reasons why they should

xbrh_RecognisepalestinepicMPs will have a once-in-five-years chance of voting on a vital issue for Palestinians. Easington MP Grahame Morris has secured a full-day debate next Monday (13 October) ending with a vote at 10pm on a motion for the UK to recognise Palestine.

No party has whipped its MPs to attend, or back the motion (despite Labour’s declared support for recognition), but you can urge your MP to turn up and vote the right way. Even if you think you know how they’ll vote, make sure you contact them before Monday.

Take two or three minutes of your time to write to them using the simple e-tool here, tell them you won’t vote for any MP who doesn’t turn up and vote, raise the issue on local media, visit their surgery, phone them on the day to ask if they are there, tell them to cancel engagements, get to the Commons and vote. If you need reasons to do this, here are seventeen (courtesy of Martin Linton): Continue reading

The state of Palestine

palestine flagThis summer’s violent assault against the Gaza Strip pushed the Palestinian issue to the top of the political agenda like never before.

The latest stage of Israel’s episodic devastation of Gaza — a process Israeli military strategists chillingly refer to as “mowing the lawn” — shocked the world and in doing so woke up millions to the horrors being visited upon the Palestinian people.

As Israel unleashed its full military might against the civilian population of Gaza, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Britain in protest.

It was magnificent to see so many ordinary people mobilise in opposition to Israel’s occupation and the dispossession, violence and suffering it entails. Continue reading

Gaza: The war for nothing

Get Out - ad for anti Gaza war demo in Tel AvivAfter 50 days, the war is over. Hallelujah.

On the Israeli side: 71 dead, among them 66 soldiers, 1 child.

On the Palestinian side: 2,143 dead, 577 of them children, 263 women, 102 elderly. 11,230 injured. 10,800 buildings destroyed. 8,000 partially destroyed. About 40,000 damaged homes. Among the damaged buildings: 277 schools, 10 hospitals, 70 mosques, 2 churches. Also, 12 West Bank demonstrators, mostly children, who were shot.

So what was it all about?

The honest answer is: About nothing.

Neither side wanted it. Neither side started it. It just so happened. Continue reading

Jeremy Corbyn’s letter to the PM seeking parliament’s recall over Gaza

Jeremy_CorbynJeremy Corbyn today revealed he’d written to David Cameron seeking the recall of parliament to discuss the Gaza conflict “in view of the serious violations of international humanitarian law taking place.” The request is especially timely coinciding with the resignation of Sayeeda Warsi who’d said “the government’s approach and language during the current crisis in Gaza is morally indefensible.

Jeremy Corbyn argues that “by repeatedly championing Israel’s “right to defend itself” above anything else, the UK is seen by many as being complicit in the wholesale slaughter of Palestinian civilians, and thus in violating the Geneva Convention.” The full text of his letter is as follows: Continue reading