Dear Mr Sturdy,
As one of your, probably few, Jewish constituents I am writing to ask you to please attend and speak up at the debate on Israeli settlements in the House of Commons on 9 February 2017 in order to show opposition to the illegal building of settlements in the occupied West Bank.
The building of settlements constitutes a war crime under international law. Palestinians already walled in to the West Bank face continual loss of land and livelihoods due to the expansion of settlements, not to mention the violence from settlers and the Israeli military that goes along with them. In Jerusalem the situation is as extreme, with settlers invading homes with Israeli security support while the Palestinian owners are left without any channel of redress, protection or rights.
If the UK government is serious about peace and justice, it must take immediate steps to curb the growth of settlements including:
1) Refuse trade negotiations with Israel so long as it continues denying Palestinians their rights. Despite its systematic violations of international law, Israel enjoys favoured trade status with the UK and the European Union. Negotiating a new trade deal would encourage Israel’s impunity and send a clear message that its war crimes can continue without any meaningful consequences. As the UK prepares to renegotiate trade deals in light of the ‘Brexit’ process, it must not reward Israel’s aggression with an upgrade in diplomatic and economic relations.
2) Implement a two-way arms embargo on Israel over its blatant disregard for international law. UK arms companies like BAE sell weapons to Israel, used in its brutal occupation of Palestine. UK banks hold investments for arms companies that lend material support to Israel’s violations of international law. If the UK’s official criteria for licensing arms exports was properly applied, it would already result in a de-facto arms embargo on Israel over its continued building of settlements and other war crimes related to the occupation of Palestine.
Over the past years, Israel has continued to build illegal settlements and violate international law with impunity. FCO statements discouraging settlement building have no effect on Israel, so long as the words are not backed up by action.
This issue is of utmost importance to me, as this year marks the 50th anniversary of start of the brutal Israeli military occupation. Please ensure the UK does not go one more year enabling the atrocious crimes that deny Palestinians justice and freedom.
I am sure that you are aware that I am equally concerned about UK arms sales to other countries having written to you on the issue several times.
4 Frazer Court