Israel must stop building wall and halt settlement expansion


150 MPs call on Israel to stop building illegal barrier and to halt expansion of settlements

The Britain–Palestine All Party Parliamentary Group today held its AGM and heard from departing Palestinian General Delegate, HE Afif Safieh, who reflected on his time in the role in the UK and gave his analysis of the current situation in the Middle East. The All-Party Group paid tribute to his large contribution over the last 15 years to the role as General Delegate and to his persistent determination as a strong voice for Palestine in the UK.

The meeting took place on the day that a cross-party EDM with more than 150 signatories was tabled which condemned the continued building of the Israeli Barrier and Settlements in Occupied Territory and which welcomed the proposal withdrawal from Israeli settlements on the Gaza Strip and the northern part of the West Bank.

Richard Burden MP, Chair of the All-Party Group said today:

“The fact that over 150 MPs from all political parties have signed this Motion shows just how much breadth of concern there is on this issue. This EDM calls for the creation of a fair and just settlement in the Middle East with the establishment of a viable and independent Palestinian state. The Israeli withdrawal from settlements in Gaza is an important opportunity towards a comprehensive peace in the region. However, it is of the utmost importance that this is not undermined by the expansion of existing settlements, and the continued construction of the Wall, in the West Bank. These are both deemed illegal by international law. They are destroying the territorial integrity of the West Bank and threaten the chances of a viable Palestinian State being created. The construction of both must be halted.

“The number of Members of Parliament from different political parties who have signed the Motion today, indicates the importance attached to this issue in The UK Parliament. It is vital that the UK government listens to these concerns and uses its influence during its Presidency of the EU, to ensure that the chance of creating a viable Palestinian state is not closed off by the Wall and settlements.”

Text of EDM:

‘That this house believes that there must be a viable, independent Palestinian state established in all of the territories occupied in 1967, welcomes the proposal to withdraw Israeli settlements from the Gaza Strip and the northern part of the West Bank as an important first step in this process, but condemns the continued expansion of the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the continued building of the Israeli barrier where it falls in occupied territory.’

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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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