Britain-Palestine Group welcome results of London meeting, but call for a full peace conference


Today, as Chair of the All Party Group on Palestine, I welcomed the positive outcomes of the London Meeting to Support the Palestinian Authority. But I’ve called for a full Peace Conference, involving Israel, to be held as soon as possible.

The agreements made in London yesterday are an important step forward, and mark another significant movement in the right direction towards a united Palestine which is democratic, sovereign and where all people live in peace.

We are now in a situation where the prospects for peace are the best they have been for a long time. It is now necessary to capitalise on the goodwill displayed yesterday. I welcome the commitments of the EU, the US and the World Bank to help establish new Palestinian political institutions and to provide help on security and economic development. These are all important steps to securing progress.

But for real peace to be achieved, it is crucial that Israel also agrees to direct discussions and negotiations with the Palestinians. A full peace conference, involving Israel, is now required to restart progess on the Road Map which has been endorsed internationally and to which both Israel and the Palestinins have signed up.

Yesterday, the Palestinian leadership discussed with international partners how it intends to implement its responsibilities, including on the security issues which Israel has consistently emphasised. Israel should now also demonstrate its commitment to honouring its own responsibilities under both the Road Map and international law. Two early signals of that should be to halt both the expansion of settlements and the construction of the Barrier it is building on Palestinian Territory, which has been declared illegal by the International Court of Justice.

These steps would be a real contribution to achieving the most sought after prize of all – a lasting and just peace in the region which guarantees the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians.

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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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