Speech at Labour Party Labour & Palestine Fringe Meeting September 28th

Yesterday the Labour Party members made a momentous decision committing our Party to stand solidly behind the Palestinian people.

In 2020 I was proud to move the motion that committed the TUC to a very clear policy on Palestine and we can be proud that the Labour Party has aligned itself with TUC policy. 

The TUC motion was clear: the path being taken by Israeli government “will be another significant step in the creation of a system of apartheid.”

Two weeks ago, the TUC Congress again passed a motion that said the TUC “stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people following the latest attacks by Israeli state forces on the people of Gaza, East Jerusalem and the occupied territories.”

The Motion noted how Human Rights Watch have concluded that the Israeli regime is guilty of apartheid.

The motion was passed overwhelmingly at the TUC and was not a source of controversy – so standing in solidarity with the people of Palestine, and their rights, is something the Labour Party can now be proud to do.

The seriousness of the situation facing the people of Palestine is confirmed by the fact the International Criminal Court is holding an inquiry into abuses committed in the occupied Palestinian Territories since 2014.

Speaking up for Palestine is essential at this vital time and I want not only to commend the unions that supported these motions but also the many constituencies who have signed the Labour & Palestine statement published on our website – my constituency in North East Bedfordshire have endorsed it I am pleased to say, and I am here to ask that other constituencies do the same.

We want you to get your constituency to commit to signing the Labour & Palestine statement published on the website.

I know there is significant controversy still within the Party but now with the TUC Unions who are affiliated to Labour and the Labour Party all now aligned it is imperative that Constituencies support the Labour Palestine statement.

Comrades – going away from this Conference, we must now be united to call upon the British government to work towards a full and lasting peaceful solution to the conflict that recognises Palestinians’ right to self-determination.

And as a movement we must support “effective measures” including sanctions, as called for by Palestinian civil society, against actions by the Israeli state that are illegal according to international law. 

The never ending occupation, the building of illegal settlements, the ethnic cleansing, and the massive human rights abuses are plain enough for anyone who wants to see it.

As Labour & Palestinehas said, this must include action to ensure that Israel stops 

  • the building of settlements, 
  • reverses any annexation, 
  • ends the occupation of the West Bank, 
  • ceases the blockade of Gaza, 
  • brings down the Wall 
  • and respects the right of refugees to return to their homes under international law.

It was unfortunate that Unite were not called to speak on Palestine yesterday as we had hoped so I just want to use a comment that our speaker Paula Brennan would have said and that is this:

“Our party was built on the basis of solidarity with the downtrodden and standing shoulder to shoulder with those facing oppression – whether that is here in the UK or outside of our borders – and that is exactly what we must do”.

Let’s build that solidarity.

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