Arafat memorial – 205 MPs call on Israel to dismantle separation wall


Today, Richard Burden MP, Chair of the Britain-Palestine All-Party Parliamentary Group, will chair a Memorial Evening in London to commemorate the life of Yasser Arafat. The evening will be attended by H. E. Afif Safieh, Palestinian General Delegate to the UK. Speakers will also include Rajab Chamlakh, Head of the Association of Palestinian Community in the UK; Lord David Steel, Former leader of the Liberal Democrats, and Former President of Medical Aid for Palestinians; Robin Kealy, Former Consulate General in East Jerusalem; Daud Abdulla from the Muslim Council of Britain and Sir Jeremy Hanley, Former Foreign Office Minister responsible for the Middle East. In addition, Palestinian representatives will include Asad Abdul Rahman, Independent PLO-ED member formerly in charge of the Refugee Affairs Department.

The event is being organised by the Joint Committee for Palestine and will be held at 7pm, Friends House, 173 – 177 Euston Road on Tuesday 7th December.

The meeting also comes on the day over 200 MPs from different parties have tabled a Commons Motion which welcomes the Opinion issued by the International Court of Justice on Israel’s Separation Barrier and calls on Israel to comply by dismantling those parts of the barrier built on occupied land, as required by the UN.

Richard Burden said:

“Tonight’s Memorial Service will be an important opportunity for people in this country to remember the life of Yasser Arafat. For over 30 years he symbolized the Palestinian’s quest for self determination. He was always a controversial figure but the way he has been demonized in some quarters is quite outrageous. Tonight we will hear from some of those who knew him and who can assess the real contribution he made during his life.

“In remembering Arafat, however, it is now more important than ever that we re-double our efforts to bring about a just settlement in the Middle East and an end to the conflict which has claimed the lives of thousands of innocent Palestinians and Israelis. An important step along that road is to identify and remove the barriers to peace. One of those is the illegal Wall being built by Israel, not along its own borders, but inside occupied land. That is what today’s Commons motion is all about and the fact that it has been signed by over 200 MPs from different parties underlines the breadth of concern in Parliament on this issue.”

A copy of Early Day Motion 308 on the Separation Barrier can be found at:

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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