“The tragic loss of lives in Gaza in May sparked indignation around the world. But when airstrikes mercifully stop, the reality is that ceasefires don’t bring peace to Palestinians, who continue to live under the humiliation & violence of the occupation.”Carmen Williams
By Carmen Williams, Mid Bedfordshire CLP. This piece is based on Carmen’s speech to Labour’s Women’s Conference in support of a motion successfully passed in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
I am honoured to speak in support of Palestinian women today.
I’ve been to Palestine twice and have seen first hand the cruel and unjust reality that living under occupation is, and the efforts of brave Palestinian women as they face this reality on a daily basis, with courage and dignity.
The Israeli government’s discrimination against Palestinians particularly impacts on the lives of women. They’re denied access to health provision, evicted from their homes, their communities forcibly moved from their lands, villages demolished, their children’s schools dismantled, their right to education, water, electricity denied.
The tragic loss of lives in Gaza in May sparked indignation around the world. But, conference, when airstrikes mercifully stop, the reality is that ceasefires don’t bring peace to Palestinians, who continue to live under the humiliation and the violence of the occupation.
It’s encouraging to see that the International Criminal Court is starting investigations into possible war crimes in Palestine. We must support their work.
Supporters of Palestine also welcome the recent report by B’tselem and the publication of the Human Rights Watch Report on Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid.
Conference, this must now be the time for action. No more bland words. We must now take concrete actions. It is what Palestinians ask us to do…and it is this that they asked of us everywhere I went in Palestine.
It is the right thing to do and it is also an important electoral issue. There is strong support for Palestine from Labour Party supporters, who feel deeply about this issue and want to see our party take action.
Women’s Conference and the Labour party must therefore demand that the British government:
- recognises the State of Palestine
- stops trade with settlement goods.
- imposes sanctions on the Israeli government whilst the occupation persits
- stops the sale of arms and military equipment to Israel
The Labour party must:
- assert its support for the work of the ICC
- draw attention to the violation of the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel and of Palestinian refugees
And convey to Israeli government representatives that they need to:
- release all children in detention
- stop settlement expansion, demolitions and evictions
- provide a full vaccination programme to all Palestinians
Conference, … for a future of peace, justice, freedom and equality for all Palestinians and Israelis.