Europe is key to justice for Palestine – Byrne – 26 January 2015

by Liam Byrne | 26.01.15 | in: Foreign policy, National news, Social action, Uncategorized, Universities, Science & Skills, Westminster

In the past many many of you have contacted me about the terrible situation in Palestine. Over the weekend I took part in a 3 day fact finding trip to East Jerusalem and the Palestinian Authority.

You can see some photos from my trip here and you can read my report of the trip below. 

Europe is key to justice for Palestine

Britain and its European allies could be the key to securing justice for Palestine said Liam Byrne today after a three day fact finding trip to East Jerusalem and the Palestinian Authority.

Mr Byrne met with the Palestinian Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah, former PLO chief spokeswoman, Hanan Ashrawi, along with UN representatives. Mr Byrne spent two days talking to Palestinian farmers in the West Bank together with Medical Aid for Palestine, EWASH, and PARC (The Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee) in a visit to Al Jiftlik and Furush Beit Dajan.

I provided the following quotes to the media:

“Everyone from the Palestinian prime minister down, offered huge thanks to us for Labour’s historic vote in the Commons to recognise Palestine. And ahead of the American elections next year, it’s obvious a Labour government could make huge progress with friends in France, Spain, Italy and Sweden helping ‘jump-start’ fresh hope for the peace process.

‘The Commons debate was closely watched and people were clear: it offered fresh hope’

‘But there’s urgent action needed too. Palestinians are freezing to death in Gaza and we heard direct from the UN that the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism simply isn’t letting in enough material fast enough to rebuild shattered homes. At the current pace, it will be decades before Gaza is rebuilt. That is just not good enough. So I will be laying questions in Parliament to see what more can be done.

‘It’s obvious we need more transparency – and more accountability – for what settlers are doing in the West Bank. We can’t have a country cut into a pieces by illegal settlements that would set back peace.

‘Palestinian leaders have a big responsibility to show they can and will recognise a state of Israel where Jews can realise their own ambitions for self-determination – in peace and safety free from the fear of rocks or rockets. But Israel too must recognise the same for Palestine. Only in that way can two communities stop building walls between each other – and instead start building bridges’.

Notes for journalists:

I was travelling with Gavin Shuker MP, Shadow DFID spokesman, Chris Doyle, Director of Caabu and James Denselow of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

Parliamentary Questions:

  • To ask the Secretary of State what assessment he has made of the success of the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism in fulfilling its four objectives of; a) enabling the Government of Palestine to lead the reconstruction effort; b) enabling the Gazan private sector; c) assuring donors that their investments in construction work in Gaza will be implemented without delay) addressing Israeli security concerns related to the use of construction and other ‘dual use’ material?
  • To ask the Secretary of State what steps the British Government has been taking to support the success of the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism?
  • To ask the Secretary of State what assessment has he made of the impact of the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism on the humanitarian situation in Gaza?


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