We want to make sure that Palestine is firmly on the agenda during this election. We know that the British public support Palestine, but need you to ensure these views are reflected in Parliament. To help us understand the position of your local candidates, we ask for your assistance in writing to them about the following important issues below.

Click here to contact the candidates in your constituency.

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Settlements

Question:

Given that Israel has continued to expand settlements on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in defiance of international law and international opinion, do you think the UK should ban the import of settlement goods into the UK?A) Yes / No / Don’t Know

A) Yes / No / Don’t Know 

Background:

There are 588,000 Israeli settlers living on stolen Palestinian land. Since 1967 Israel has established over a hundred settlements in the West Bank, and dozens more settlement outposts. These settlements are established on vast tracts of land taken from the Palestinians, in breach of international humanitarian law. The illegality of Israeli settlements was reaffirmed in the UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which was passed in December 2016.

The very existence of the settlements violates Palestinian human rights, including the right to property, equality, a decent standard of living and freedom of movement. Israel’s dramatic alteration of the West Bank map has precluded realisation of Palestinians’ right to self-determination in a viable Palestinian state.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office have acknowledged Israeli settlements to be illegal and a barrier to peace, but the UK still provides substantial support to settlements through business ties.

Links:

https://www.un.org/press/en/2016/sc12657.doc.htm

http://www.btselem.org/settlements/statistics

https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde15/5693/2017/en/

https://www.palestinecampaign.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/settlements-factsheet-2016-v6.pdf

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Gaza Blockade

Question:

Do you agree that Israel’s blockade of Gaza imposed since 2007 should be lifted immediately?

A) Yes / No / Don’t Know

 Background:

Israel controls Gaza by land, sea, and air. The coastal strip is isolated from the outside world, making it the world’s largest open air prison.   The 10 year long blockade has had a devastating effect on the 1.9 million Palestinians living in Gaza, and the humanitarian crisis has been exacerbated by repeated military attacks from Israel.

The blockade prevents Palestinians from leaving Gaza for economic, educational, and even medical reasons. Access restrictions for people and goods severely undermine Gaza’s economy, and 70% of Gaza’s population is dependent on foreign aid.  Basic services and infrastructure are strained to breaking point. Only 10% of Gaza’s population have access to safe drinking water, and 47% of households in Gaza suffer from moderate or severe food insecurity.  Basic materials are banned by Israel, which has made reconstruction efforts following the 2014 conflict painfully slow. Over 51,000 Palestinians remain displaced as damaged homes and infrastructure remain unrepaired.  A UN report in 2015 stated that if the blockade continues Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020.

Israel, as an occupying power, is legally responsible for the wellbeing of Gaza’s population. The blockade contravenes article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits all forms of collective punishment. The only way that stability and peace can be established is by immediately lifting the blockade.

Links:

https://www.ochaopt.org/content/gaza-strip-humanitarian-impact-blockade-november-2016

http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2016/11/22/water-situation-alarming-in-gaza

https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/middle-east-and-north-africa/israel-and-occupied-palestinian-territories/report-israel-and-occupied-palestinian-territories/

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=51770#.WRQqklXyvIV

https://www.palestinecampaign.org/resources/factsheets/gazafacts/

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Arms Trade with Israel

 Question:

Do you agree that the government should enforce its own arms export licensing criteria and stop supplying arms to Israel until it ceases its violations of international law?

A) Yes / No / Don’t Know

 Background:

Israel has launched three major military offensives against Gaza over the last decade. 1,462 Palestinian civilians were killed, a third of them children, during the summer of 2014 alone.  The indiscriminate targeting of civilians is a war crime, and the UN has repeatedly raised concerns about the apparent impunity with which Israel has acted.

The UK Government has criteria against which arms export licence applications are considered. This is to prohibit the use of UK arms exports for internal repression, external aggression or any other criminal behaviour overseas. Israel has a long track record of using its military to repress and occupy Palestine, including through extrajudicial killings and the targeting of civilians. Despite this, the UK continues to export arms to Israel and to do business with the Israeli arms industry.

By continuing to export arms to Israel, and by supporting the Israeli arms industry, the UK Government is complicit in the crimes committed by Israel against Palestine.

Links:

http://gaza.ochaopt.org/2015/06/report-of-the-independent-commission-of-inquiry-on-the-2014-gaza-conflict/

https://blackfriday.amnesty.org/

https://www.stoparmingisrael.org/wp-content/uploads/arming-apartheid.pdf

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 Child Prisoners

Question:

Numerous reports have highlighted the mistreatment of Palestinian child prisoners in Israeli military detention . Do you agree that any child prisoner should be treated in accordance with international law and not Israeli military law?

A) Yes / No / Don’t Know

Background:

Every year between 500-700 Palestinian children, some as young as 12, are detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system. There is now widespread evidence that most Palestinian child prisoners are arrested at night, and forcibly removed from their homes and families without access to legal advice or independent adult supervision.

Their hands are tied with plastic ties and they are blindfolded. They are subjected to coercive interrogations, often accompanied by verbal and/or physical abuse and many are shown/sign documents written in Hebrew. Children are illegally transferred from Palestine and detained inside Israel in contravention of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The UK Government funded an independent legal investigation into the plight of Palestinian child prisoners in 2012. The consequent report, ‘Children in Military Custody’, found Israel guilty of at least 6 breaches of the UN Conventions and made over 40 recommendations. The FCO accepted the report’s findings, but so far very little progress has been made.

Defence for Children International Palestine have made the following 8 recommendations for action:

  1. Children must not be prosecuted in military courts that lack basic and fundamental due process guarantees;
  2. Detention must only be used as a measure of last resort;
  3. Children must not be arrested at night;
  4. Children must not be subjected to any form of physical violence;
  5. Children must have access to legal representation and parents prior to and during interrogations;
  6. All interrogations of children must be audio-visually recorded;
  7. Any statement made as a result of torture or ill-treatment must be excluded as evidence in any proceeding; and
  8. All credible allegations of torture and ill-treatment must be thoroughly and impartially investigated in accordance with international standards, and perpetrators brought promptly to justice.

Links:

https://www.palestinecampaign.org/campaigns/child-prisoners/

http://www.childreninmilitarycustody.org.uk/report/

http://www.dci-palestine.org/palestinian_children_held_in_solitary_confinement_for_longer_periods

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 UK-Israel Trade Agreement

Question:

Do you agree that future UK trade deals should include a strong human rights clause, and that any trade agreement with Israel should be conditional upon the respect of international law and human rights?

A) Yes / No / Don’t Know

 Background:

UK trade with Israel is currently conducted under the terms of the EU-Israel Association agreement. Once the UK leaves the EU, it will cease to be a party to this and will need to negotiate its own bilateral trade and investment agreements with all countries.

The EU-Israel Association Agreement states in Article 2 that relations are conditional upon the respect of democratic principles and human rights. Despite the multiple violations committed by Israel, the EU has so far refrained from suspending this agreement.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights in Westminster released a report stating that the UK must use Brexit as an opportunity to set higher human rights standards with its trading partners.  There are concerns, however, that human rights will become diluted as a priority during the process of establishing new trade deals. It is essential that strong human rights clauses are incorporated into any new agreements.

Links:

http://freepalestine.eu/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/No_association_factsheet_A4_2.pdf

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-trade-deals-human-rights-theresa-may-saudi-arabia-trip-a7666601.html

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For more information please visit www.palestinecampaign.org/votepalestine17