Labour Must Speak up for Palestine - updated for UN Solidarity Day 2022
“To be an internationalist and democratic socialist party, it is the responsibility of the Labour Party to speak up for Palestine and stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their fundamental rights, including to self-determination.
Recent actions by the Israeli Government have illustrated the continuing nature of Israel’s illegal occupation and the denial of the rights of Palestinian peoples with the use of militarised violence and forced displacements. The attacks on Gaza in August 2022 killed 44 Palestinians, including 15 children, and were described by the UN Special rapporteur as an act contrary to international law. The Israeli army’s killing of the Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh; the attacks on the Al Aqsa mosque and the outlawing of 7 NGOs who spoke up for Palestinian rights being just some examples.
The seriousness of the situation facing the people of Palestine is confirmed by the fact the International Criminal Court is holding an inquiry into abuses committed in the occupied Palestinian Territories since 2014.
The continuing de facto annexation of Palestinian land by accelerated settlement building alongside statements of Israel’s continuing intention to proceed with annexation, show it is clearer than ever that the Israeli State is intent on eliminating any prospects of Palestinian self-determination, including by trying to annex Jerusalem as its sole capital.
Major reports by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem have concluded that Israel is practising the crime of apartheid as defined by the UN.
Labour must build on – not step back from – its commitments to immediate recognition of the state of Palestine and an end to the blockade, occupation and settlements as outlined in the 2017 and 2019 manifestos, and in the motions overwhelmingly passed by the Party’s annual conferences in 2018, 2019 and 2021, the last of which stated “that the Labour Party must stand on the right side of history and abide by these resolutions in its policy, communications and political strategy.”
We must support “effective measures” including sanctions, as called for by Palestinian civil society, against actions by the Israeli state that are illegal according to international law. This must include action to ensure that Israel stops the building of settlements, reverses any annexation, ends the occupation of the West Bank, ceases the blockade of Gaza, brings down the Wall and respects the right of refugees to return to their homes under international law.
We oppose measures designed to stop civil society using non-violent actions, including ethical investment policies, to try to ensure Israel complies with international law.”