A summary of what was said in Parliament about Palestine week beginning 14 March. If you want to find out what your MP has said/done about Palestine, please search for their surname in our search button on our homepage.

WEDNESDAY  16  MARCH  2016

  1. Questions to DfID Secretary:

– Ruth Cadbury: What recent representations has she made to the Israeli government on the effect of home demolitions in the west bank on the humanitarian situation in that region?

Desmond Swayne: Their increase adds to the sum of human misery, undermines any prospect of a peace process and is contrary to international law. I have left the Israeli Government in no doubt about the strength of our disapproval; our embassy continues to do so.

– Ruth Cadbury: I thank the Minister for his response. The latest figures from the UN, from early this month, show that there have been 400 demolitions since the start of the year, more than four times the rate of demolitions last year. The wave of demolitions is depriving Palestinians of their homes and their livelihoods and preventing European taxpayer-funded organisations from providing essential humanitarian support. As the British Government made representations when demolitions trebled, what more effective action or sanction will the Minister impose now that demolitions have quadrupled?

– DS: The hon. Lady is right that the rate of increase is now faster than at any time since calculations began to be made, and it is essential that the occupied territories, and in particular Area C, are governed in accordance with the fourth Geneva protocol. We will continue to make these representations to the Government. I know the hon. Lady wants to push me further, and I entirely understand the strength of her frustration and anger, but jaw jaw is better than war war.

– Michael Tomlinson: Will the Minister join me in condemning incitement to violence or glorification of violence on either side?

– DS:

Absolutely. We are wholly opposed to incitement, and when instances of incitement are brought to my attention, I go straight to the telephone to raise the matter with the chief executives of those organisations and make absolutely clear our fundamental disapproval, and our requirement that things are put right.

– Tom Brake: With any prospect of a two-state solution fast disappearing, it is of course right that we recognise Israel’s right to self-defence, but is it not also time that we recognised Palestine as a sovereign state?

– DS: We can only recognise Palestine once. It is essential, therefore, that we do so at a moment where we will have maximum impact on any peace process. That is a fine judgment.

– Gregory Campbell: 

What recent checks have the Government made in relation to support offered in the west bank to moneys that end up in the coffers of terrorist-supporting groups on the west bank?

– DS: Absolutely none of UK British aid, multilateral or bilateral, ends up in the hands of terrorists

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm160316/debtext/160316-0001.htm#16031632000019

– Bob Blackman: Senior Palestinian officials have condemned peace-building initiatives between Israelis and Palestinians, with one condemning football matches between Israeli and Palestinian youths as “normalisation of the Zionist enemy”. What representations has my right hon. Friend made to the Palestinian Authority to condemn these moves, and what moves is she making to build peace between Israel and Palestine?

– Justine Greening: As my right hon. Friend the Minister set out earlier, we deplore incitement on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We monitor allegations of incitement very closely and raise instances with both leaderships.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm160316/debtext/160316-0001.htm#16031632000023

Commons Oral Answers

  1. Debate: UNHCR: Admission Pathways for Syrian Refugees – led by Caroline Lucas:

– Caroline Lucas: Our country should be humbled by the way in which Lebanon continues to welcome Syrian refugees, particularly given that the Lebanese also host 450,000 Palestinian refugees. [extract]

– Alistair Carmichael: The Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon have been running for decades. In fact, when we go to the refugee camps in Lebanon or Gaza or elsewhere, we realise that to call them refugee camps is something of a misnomer. They are neighbourhoods and housing estates that are built with a permanency that is depressing to see. [extract]

– Jim Shannon: Lebanon has taken in 1.2 million, on top of the Palestinians who are already in camps there.  [extract]

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm160316/halltext/160316h0001.htm#16031631000001

Westminster Hall

  1. Bob Blackman: What steps is BIS Secretary taking with university vice chancellors to encourage action to prevent threats of physical violence against Jewish students and connected parties?

http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2016-02-23/28093

  1. David T.C. Davies: What steps is DfID Secretary taking to support refugees in camps in the Middle East?

http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2016-03-10/904134

Nos 3-4 Commons Written Answers

  1. Trade Union Bill Amendment 12:

– Lord Leigh: While we do not know the amounts, we know that there has in the past been specific funding for particular think tanks, and, controversially, campaigns to lobby local councils to divest their government pension schemes from companies linked with Israel. Unions that, for example, are affiliated to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign would have had to make a payment to achieve that affiliation. It seems only right that members should be aware of this and the amount. Some might wonder why their money is being used in this way. For completeness, I disclose that I am a supporter and member of the Conservative Friends of Israel, but this is a very small part of the issue. [extract]

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201516/ldhansrd/text/160316-0002.htm#16031641000580

Lords Debates

  1. Baroness Deech: What assessment have HMG made of the reported rise in anti-Semitism in the UK, in particular at universities, and what action do they plan to take to tackle anti-Semitism in the light of that assessment?

http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Lords/2016-03-03/HL6686

Lords Written Answers

TUESDAY 15 MARCH 2016

1. Westminster Hall debate on “Local Government – Ethical Procurement”

Read the debate

2. Lord Lester: Will HMG give guidance to local authorities about the limits on their powers to engage in political boycotts overseas?
http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Lords/2016-02-25/HL6455

3. Lord Lester: What assessment have HMG made of whether local authorities that engage in foreign boycotts risk acting in breach of the common law as well as the UK’s regime of procurement rules?
http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Lords/2016-03-01/HL6613
Nos 2-3 Lords Written Answers

EDM 1245 – DEMOLITION OF PALESTINIAN HOMES BY ISRAEL

That this House condemns the major escalation in demolitions by the Israeli government in the Occupied Palestinian Territories; notes that 293 structural demolitions have taken place in the first six weeks of 2016, including numerous homes; expresses concern for the devastating effects such demolitions have on innocent civilians; further notes that in 2015, 447 Palestinian structures were demolished; notes that, according to the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, between 2010 and 2014 only 1.5 per cent of the over 2,000 Palestinian building permit requests were approved in Area C of the West Bank, leading to 10,000 present standing demolition orders; notes Israel’s continued uses of demolition as a means of collectively punishing Palestinians; welcomes the EU’s continued opposition to Israel’s illegal settlements, home demolitions, confiscation and evictions; notes that the home demolitions have included EU-funded structures; calls on the Government to condemn these latest demolitions and the continued expansion of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories; and demands reparations for the destruction.
http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2015-16/1245