End UK Arms Sales to Israel – Left MPs stand in solidarity with Palestine in Parliamentary Debate

“How many more Palestinian schools & hospitals have to be bombed before the British Government take the action necessary?”

Richard Burgon MP

As the bombardment of Gaza intensifies, Labour left MPs spoke up in the House of Commons on Wednesday to condemn Israel’s behaviour and to demand an end to it’s military action, ahead of a major demonstration in solidarity with Palestine this Saturday. 

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s junior minister James Cleverly was asked to respond to an Urgent Question by Labour’s Wayne David and left MPs joined the debate to issue a series of demands.

Richard Burgon, Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy were amongst those who participated and set out a series of demands including an end to arms sales to Israel, an end to evictions and new settlement building in East Jerusalem and the West Bank and urged the UK government to pressure the US into backing a ceasefire call at the UN.

The MPs also repeated the demand for the government to recognise the State of Palestine, which the House of Commons originally voted to support in 2014. 

In his contribution, Socialist Campaign Group Secretary, Richard Burgon MP, asked, “How many more Palestinian children have to be killed? How many more Palestinian homes have to be reduced to rubble? How many more Palestinian schools and hospitals have to be bombed before the British Government take the action necessary.”
Burgon called for all UK weapons sales to Israel to be stopped and for sanctions on the Israeli Government for their repeated violations of international law. 

Jeremy Corbyn repeated the concern about UK military sales supporting Israel’s armed forces, asking the Minister to “tell the House whether any munitions sold by Britain to Israel have been used to bomb places in Gaza, and whether any drone equipment supplied by Britain or bought by Britain has been used as a surveillance method on either the West Bank or Gaza.”

Diane Abbott also said, “people want to see an end to the violence and the rising death toll” whilst Bell Ribeiro-Addy said we need a “joint international approach to achieve a ceasefire” and urged the UK Government to take steps, “to urge the US Administration to stop blocking any call for a joint ceasefire.”

Both Burgon and Abbott called on the government to recognise the state of Palestine, whilst on the same issue, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, said, “Today the Minister has repeatedly expressed support for a two-state solution. I would just like to understand how the Government expect to command the confidence of the public and the House on this matter when they will not recognise Palestine, one of those two states, because one plus zero does not equal two.”

Labour activists who support the Palestinians should amplify the contributions of our left MPs who support Palestine in the House of Commons, and should also take action this weekend. They reflect the majority of public opinion in support of the Palestinians who are otherwise poorly represented in Parliament.

Supporting and sharing the work of those MPs will ensure other politicians are forced to address the oppression of the Palestinians. 

After the 150,000 strong demonstration at the Israeli Embassy in London last Saturday was publicised widely on mainstream media and was matched with a global outpouring of solidarity with the Palestinians in cities across the world, there will be a mass march in London again this Saturday, from the Embankment to Hyde Park. The event has been called by Palestine Solidarity Campaign. 

And having marched with the mass movement, Labour activists are encouraged to join the discussion at a Labour Outlook Forum on “Why Socialists support the Global Palestinian Resistance” which features Hugh Lanning of Labour and Palestine, and who is a former chair of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. 

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