Palestine in Parliament

On the 13th October the British parliament is voting on whether to recognise the state of Palestine. Historically, when faced with such measures at the UN or nationally, the UK has usually abstained or been against. But these days, who knows. In 3 weeks, we will find out if the winds are indeed blowing in a new direction. Shamefully few MPs have stated their intention to participate in the debate, unsurprisingly the Conservatives are the worst offenders.

If you want an idea of what to write to your representative, this is what I composed for my letter to Tory MP Steve Brine for Winchester.

I hope this email finds you well. My understanding is that you haven’t signalled your intention to attend a debate on the recognition of Palestinians’ right to self-determination. On the right of the stateless non-Jewish indigenous in the West Bank and Gaza to their own nation.

As recently as July 11th, Netanyahu made clear that the Israeli government would never relinquish security control of the area west of the Jordan River. So where does that leave us? In a permanent and intolerable state of limbo, with ethno-religious apartheid in the region dominated by Israel’s military and the illegal settlements it protects. The Palestinians didn’t vote for Likud, yet their administration and its supremacist policies are what they find themselves subjected to every day the 47 year old occupation continues.

Even if you, like me, have you reservations about the plausibility of a two-state solution (how can you not with statements like the one from Netanyahu I recalled above). You must accept the need for secularism and equality, nationalism which isn’t predicated on treating any religious or ethnic group as second class citizens. The vote itself, at the very least, will demonstrate the will of the British people to have the human rights of every inhabitant of Israel-Palestine respected. I can’t force you to vote in any particular direction, but I can ask you to fall on the right side of history and of peace and justice. Or, even, just that you participate in the debate and struggle over these things.

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