16 May 2015
The next five years will see a number of important anniversaries for Palestine: The 100 year anniversary of the 1917 Balfour Declaration; 50 years since the start of the Israeli occupation in 1967; and the 70th anniversary of the Nakba. With a new government in place in the UK, and growing support for the recognition of the Palestinian State, we have the opportunity to make 2015 – 2020 the Parliament of change for the UK’s dealings with Israel and Palestine.
You can help by emailing or writing to your MP and asking them to ensure that they ensure that the health and dignity of Palestinians, a recognition of Palestinian statehood, and a just settlement for Palestinian refugees is put at the heart of British foreign policy in relations with Israel and Palestine for the coming Parliament.
Contact your MP
You can find your MP's contact details here, and a suggested text for you to amend is below. Please do let us know if you get any responses - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear [MP NAME]
I am a constituent of yours living at [YOUR ADDRESS]. I would like to [welcome you/welcome you back] to your role as MP for [YOUR CONSTITUENCY].
The UK election result, coming just days after confirmation of the new ruling right-wing coalition in Israel, highlighted the important role of the UK in its relations with Israel. Last March, in an effort to capitalise on divisions and insecurities within Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed a Palestinian state is “no longer relevant” and re-stated his belief that "anyone who moves to establish a Palestinian state and evacuate territory gives territory away to radical Islamist attacks against Israel." These statements are in direct contravention of the only internationally recognised path to peace.
It is undeniable at this time that the two-state solution, and the peace process as a result, is under threat. Spiralling conflict in the region and the ongoing occupation of Palestine is increasing the pressure on the delivery of healthcare in Palestine, as well as for Palestinians living as refugees, and is putting both Palestinians and Israelis in an increasingly insecure situation. UK recognition of the State of Palestine is an essential first step towards bringing the UK in line with the majority of states around the world, enabling discussions to take place on an equal footing, reducing tensions and pushing for constructive, lasting peace talks.
Last year 274 MPs gave a clear statement of support for UK recognition of the state of Palestine by supporting a motion in Parliament to urge the government to “recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel” as part of a “contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution.” This continuing trend before the election among Prospective Parliamentary Candidates and the inclusion of pledges in all party manifestos on this issue, makes clear that recognition of the State of Palestine must be one of the first priorities for the next government.
It is essential for the UK, as a key power in Europe and therefore with substantial influence in Quartet discussions, to once and for all recognise the State of Palestine in order to prevent a backward slide away from peace.
In addition to the urgency of UK recognition of the State of Palestine, at the end of the last Parliament, 101 MPs signed EDM 827 calling for Parliamentary access into Gaza as a requirement for accountable UK aid spending and informed debate in Parliament. The 2014 Gaza War greatly exacerbated the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the recovery has simply not happened. Gaza relies on British and international aid agencies for food, water and housing needs and the most recent figures show that more than 100,000 people are still internally displaced and not a single home has been rebuilt.
I urge you as my representative in Parliament to make the health and dignity of Palestinians one of your priorities for this Parliament and to visit Palestine and learn more about this issue through the Britain-Palestine All Party Parliamentary Group.