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Statement on Israeli Knesset’s passage of Nation State Law

The action taken yesterday by the Israeli Knesset is discriminatory and formally creates a two-tier system of rights within Israel. It formalises as second-class citizens any non-Jewish community, particularly the 20% of the population who are Palestinian Arabs. The new law also allows for the creation of communities based on religion, something that raises worrying parallels with apartheid.

Jerusalem is a city of unique significance to the three religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In referring to the city exclusively as the capital and home of one of those religions, the new law jeopardises inter-faith understanding. It also recklessly prejudices the prospects for peace in the Middle East by undermining the long-established international agreement that the future status of Jerusalem can only be decided through negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

This is the latest in a string of laws passed by the Knesset designed to strip Palestinians of their rights bit by bit. It also goes hand-in-hand with the Israeli Government’s destruction of the prospects for a viable Palestinian state through the demolition of Palestinian homes and the ongoing construction of illegal settlements.

Yachad, who work in the British Jewish community for a secure and peaceful future for Israel are right to describe this law as “counter to Israel’s Declaration of Independence” and a law which “turns minorities in Israel into second class citizens”.

South Birmingham Bus Network

Many local residents will be aware that National Express have announced changes to some bus routes in and around South Birmingham. These changes will come into force from Sunday 22nd July and include small changes, such as timetable amendments, as well as some larger route changes.

National Express believe these changes will help to provide faster, more reliable, and more punctual journeys. However, many residents will undoubtedly be concerned about the impact that some of the changes will have on their local bus routes and ability to get around.

You can visit the National Express West Midlands website using the link below to see route-by-route information about what’s happening in the coming weeks. I have also been told by National Express that all of their buses operating in the local area will have leaflets which include details of the service changes, and that information will be provided on bus stops that are affected by the service changes. It is important that those without internet access are made of aware too of these changes so please share news of the service changes with relatives, friends and neighbours who are unable to access the changes online.

Local residents should also continue to submit their comments about the service changes. You can submit any comments, complaints and questions by writing to travelcare@nationalexpress.com or Customer Relations National Express West Midlands, 51 Bordesley Green, Birmingham, B9 4BZ. Likewise you can contact their Customer Care team on 0121 254 7272. I will similarly be in regular contact with National Express to share the concerns and comments of constituents.

I know how important these bus routes are to local residents and, along with local Labour Councillors, I will be stressing to National Express the importance of reviewing the changes to see where things are not working as well as they should be.

https://nxbus.co.uk/west-midlands/south-birmingham-service-changes

Remembering Srebrenica Memorial Week

This week is Srebrenica Memorial Week, organised by British charity Remembering Srebrenica, to commemorate the 23rd anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide in which over 8,000 men and boys were systematically murdered by Bosnian Serb forces. The Srebrenica genocide was the worst massacre to take place on European soil since World War Two. It was part of a horrific conflict in which rape was routinely used as a weapon of war and in which the civilian population of Sarajevo, Bosnia’s capital, were targeted in daily shelling and sniper fire during a siege that lasted over three years.

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NHS at 70

Today the National Health Service turns 70. On 5 July 1948, the NHS was established by the Labour Party against all the odds to deliver healthcare for all – based on need, not ability to pay. The National Health Service is one of Labour’s greatest achievements and over the years it has deservedly become a national treasure.

This historic birthday is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the achievements of one of the nation’s most loved institutions, to appreciate the vital role the service plays in our lives, and to thank the hardworking staff who make up the NHS.

The pride and commitment we feel towards the NHS is stronger than ever. But the challenges facing our health service are some of the greatest it’s faced in its history.

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June’s Newsletter

Welcome to my latest Parliamentary newsletter! If you think a friend or family member may be interested in receiving my regular updates they can sign up here.

Space prevents the newsletter covering all of what I have been doing over the past month. However, hopefully it provides a flavour of some of the local issues I have taken up as well as my actions in Parliament. You’ll find updates on unauthorised encampments, Brexit and other issues. As ever, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me on these or any other issues.

Best wishes,

Richard

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