The Palestine Solidarity Campaign welcomes Sweden’s decision to recognise the state of Palestine at a time when the Palestinian people face unprecedented aggression and violence from Israel. Recent events in Jerusalem which have included attacks on civilians, closure of the Alaqsa mosque, new illegal settlement announcements and home demolitions have raised tensions to unprecedented levels.
While Sweden took a peaceful measure to help reduce the inequality between Israel and Palestine, Israel has embarked on a campaign to terrorise the Palestinian population in Jerusalem and to restrict their ability to access Alharam Alsharif and to pray at Alaqsa mosque. It closed the haram Alsharif to Muslims for the first time since 1967. It has also repeatedly allowed extremist settlers and Israel Government Ministers access to the holy shrine against the will of the Palestinians, raising tensions and worryingly turning this into a religious conflict.
Israeli occupation forces’ violence against Palestinians has led to the current dangerous situation which also resulted in an attack on an extremist and the assassination in cold blood of the suspect.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign calls on the UK Government to recognise the state of Palestine, following the historic Parliamentary vote which overwhelmingly called on the Government to do this.
It further demands that the Government condemns Israel’s attacks on the Palestinians, especially in Jerusalem.
It must demand that the plan to discuss exerting Israeli sovereignty on Alharam Alsharif in the Knesset is withdrawn and no change to the arrangements agreed at the onset of the occupation in 1967 is considered. Muslims should have unimpeded access to the holy shrine and repeated incursions by extremist settlers must stop.
The Government has repeatedly called Israeli settlements illegal but apart from condemning and expressing concern about settlement expansion, it has not moved to ban the import of settlement products. This is the time to do this, thus sending a clear message to Israel that the UK will act and not just condemn.
Professor Kamel Hawwash
Vice-Chair, Palestine Solidarity Campaign