“Aggressive, violent and illegal policies against the Palestinian people are intensifying under Israel’s new Government, which includes far-right elements.”
By Matt Willgress, Labour & Palestine
Last week alone, the Guardian reported (February 23rd) Israeli airstrikes hitting Gaza just hours after it had also been reported that the deadliest Israeli army raid in decades had killed 11 Palestinians in Nablus, in the occupied West Bank.
Among the dead were a 16-year-old and a man in his sixties. The Palestinian health ministry reported that 103 people were injured.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Ahmad Aswad, head nurse of the cardiology department at An-Najah hospital, said that they had struggled to cope with the injuries, that he had seen many patients shot in the chest, head and thighs and argued that “they shot to kill.”
The Nablus attack came after another in the nearby city of Jenin in January, in which 10 people were killed.
If you look on the Guardian website’s Palestine tab since the beginning of the year, the horrendous reports illustrating the offensive taking place against the Palestinian people and their rights keep coming. From February 13th for example, you see the headline “Israel to authorise nine ‘wild’ West Bank settlements”. This has been followed up by a West Bank settler organisation announcing on Tuesday February 21st that the Israeli government had approved the construction of 2,000 new settler homes in the West Bank – a move in clear contradiction of international law. It has also been reported elsewhere last week that Israel’s government has granted approval for over 7,000 new homes in settlements in the West Bank in total.
These aggressive, violent and illegal policies against the Palestinian people are intensifying under Israel’s new Government, which includes far-right elements.
The context is that in the 12 months up to the end of January 2023, 220 Palestinians – including 35 in January 2023 alone – have been killed by Israeli forces. It means that last year was the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since the United Nations started tracking casualties in 2005.
At the time of writing (February 24th), since the start of 2023 Israeli raids have killed 62 Palestinians, according to Palestinian health authorities; ten Israelis and a Ukrainian tourist have been killed by Palestinians, according to Israeli officials.
Internationally we must speak up against the increased abuses of Palestinians. Following the attack in Nablus, the PLO secretary general, Hussein al-Sheikh, said the Palestinian leadership had decided to go to the UN Security Council “to request international protection for our Palestinian people in light of the continuing crimes of the Israeli occupation.”
In this context, it is our job to increase the pressure around the world for governments – including our own in Britain – to act. Our Government sells weapons to Israel and regularly doesn’t even verbally condemn the abuses that take place against the Palestinians.
We must also show solidarity with the campaigning of Palestinian trade unions and social movements. For example, last week Palestinians in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, launched a general strike in response to the attack in Nablus, one of many such strikes in recent months.
And we must speak up in the Labour Party, where too often the front bench says nothing in support of Palestinian human rights. The Labour Party Conference policy that seeks to put support for the Palestinian people and their rights at the centre of an ethical foreign policy approach was publicly renounced within minutes of its passing in 2021 and its support for human rights has too often been ignored.
We know that grassroots Labour members and trade union affiliates stand by Palestine, the Palestinians and their human rights – let’s have a renewed drive to get CLPs up-and-down Britain speaking up again to condemn the abuses that are taking place.
Please take this model motion to your Labour Party meeting. It can also be downloaded here.
MODEL MOTION: SUPPORTING PALESTINIAN HUMAN RIGHTS
This CLP notes:
- The increasing violent reality in occupied Palestine. In February 2023, Amnesty International argued that Palestinian lives are in peril due to the increasingly aggressive policies of the new Israeli Government.
- This includes Israeli authorities constantly demolishing Palestinian homes whilst settlements, considered illegal under international law, are aggressively expanded.
- Amnesty also noted that of those who have died in the last year, 220 Palestinians, including 35 in January 2023 alone, had been killed by Israeli forces.
- The UK continues to sell weapons to Israel which are then used in human rights violations.
- The international criminal court has launched an investigation into alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories.
This CLP believes:
- That Israel is using laws and policies to suppress opposition and resistance to its military occupation.
- That part of a genuinely ethical foreign policy for Labour must include security justice, dignity and human rights for the Palestinian people.
- International solidarity can play an important role in highlighting the plight of the Palestinian people, including in terms of calling for an end to arms sales to Israel.
This CLP resolves:
- To invite a speaker from Labour & Palestine to address a future meeting on the current situation with regards to Palestine.
- To send this motion to the Labour Party leader and Shadow Foreign Minister urging them to speak up in support of international law and human rights for all.
- This article was originally published by Labour Hub on February 28th, 2023.
- Join an upcoming event from Labour & Palestine on March 6th, 6.30pm: “Labour Women Speak Up for Palestine” with live links from Palestine; delegation report back from Louise Regan, National Education Union & Jess Barnard, Labour NEC; plus more. Register your place here.
- You can follow Labour & Palestine on Facebook and twitter.