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Support Amnesty International's campaign to Bring Mordechai Vanunu to London in June
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Did you know?



Settlements Generate Virtually No Economic Activity
"A recent Israeli government report estimated there are…$250 million in annual exports — [only] 0.55 percent of the national total — from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, territories the international community generally considers illegally occupied."
Jodi Rodoren cited by Richard Silverstein, 22 Jan 2014

Daily acts of violence committed by Jewish Israeli citizens against West Bank Palestinians
"These incidents — now particularly heightened during the olive harvest season — are not the aberration from the norm, but a regular feature of life in the occupied West Bank. In 2012, over 7,500 Palestinian olive trees were destroyed. In the 5-year period between 2007 and 2011, there was a 315 percent increase in settler violence."
Mairav Zonszein, Israel Must Stop Settler Violence, 8 November 2013
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Police impunity
After their own investigations establishing a prima facie violation, Btselem has lodged over 280 complaints of alleged police violence in the oPt since the start of the second Intifada: "we are aware of only 12 indictments" Btselem April 2013
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Runners in the first ever Bethlehem Marathon were forced to run two laps of the same course on Sunday 21 April 2013, as Palestinians were unable to find a single stretch of free land that is 26 miles long in Area A, where the PA has both security and civil authority. See Marathon report
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30th March, land day.
On 30 March 1976, thousands of Palestinians living as a minority in Israel mounted a general strike and organised protests against Israeli government plans to expropriate almost 15,000 acres of Palestinian land in the Galilee.The Israeli government, led by prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and defence minister Shimon Peres, sent in the army to break up the general strike. The Israeli army killed six unarmed Palestinians, wounded hundreds and arrested hundreds more, including political activists. All were citizens of Israel.
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* Out of 103 investigations opened in 2012 into alleged offences committed by Israeli soldiers in the occupied territories, not a single indictment served to date
Yesh Din, 3 Feb 2013
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* In total, out of an area of 1.6 million dunams in the Jordan Valley, Israel has seized 1.25 million − some 77.5 percent − where Palestinians are forbidden to enter.
Haaretz editorial, 4 Feb 2013
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Posts

Hague says 2-state solution should be single highest priority for new US government


British Foreign Secretary with  French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (L) and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle (R) before a foreign affairs ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg last October. A month later he gave the same warning to the House of Commons that ‘time that was running out for a negotiated two-state solution’ 

See also Only EU support for absolute right of Palestinians to self-determination will bring change


Occupied Palestinian Territories

Questions to the Foreign Secretary

By Hansard, Column 156
22 Jan 2013

Mr Andrew Love (Edmonton) (Lab/Co-op): What recent reports he has received on the political situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. [138334]

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr William Hague): We continue to monitor the protests in the west bank as well as reconciliation efforts between Fatah and Hamas. We are particularly concerned about the impact on the Palestinian Authority of Israel’s withholding of revenues. We call on Israel to release those revenues in accordance with its obligations under the Paris protocol.

Mr Love: Last month, the Foreign Secretary told the House that he would discuss the diplomatic options with his European Union partners if recent settlement activity was not reversed. Given the likely outcome of the Israeli general election, that looks more distant now than ever. He recently said that he would discuss the “incentives and disincentives for both sides to return to negotiations.”—[Official Report, 4 December 2012; Vol. 554, c. 709.]

What discussions has he had with his EU partners about those?

Mr Hague: We have many such discussions. As the hon. Gentleman will recall, I made my remarks in the context of the support we can give for what I hope will be a major effort by the United States on the middle east peace process—the greatest effort since the Oslo peace accords, as I have put it. Of course that awaits the outcome of the Israeli elections and the transition of personnel in the re-elected Obama Administration. I will be discussing this with the United States in Washington next week.

Robert Halfon (Harlow) (Con): Does my right hon. Friend agree that a significant barrier to peace between Israel and the Palestinians is the continued supply of weapons and funding to Hamas in Gaza? What action are the Government taking to try to stop that funding and weapons supply?

Mr Hague: Yes, my hon. Friend is absolutely right. The behaviour of Hamas and the continued supply of weaponry to Hamas are a major problem in bringing about a two-state solution and peace in the middle east. We call on all states through which such weapons might pass to interdict such weapons and prevent their passage.

Anas Sarwar (Glasgow Central) (Lab): If, as the Foreign Secretary has said, 2013 is to be the year of peace for Palestinians and Israelis, we urgently need both sides to begin meaningful peace talks. On his recent visit to the UK, did the secretary-general of the Arab League give any indication that its members would host urgent peace talks?

Mr Hague: I discussed that with Nabil al-Arabi, the secretary-general of the Arab League, when he was here two weeks ago. The Arab League, like us, looks to the United States to launch a major initiative and looks to be able to give its support to it in the same way that we in the European Union will be able to contribute, as I have said before, and as has been quoted, with “incentives and disincentives”. When the Israeli elections are completed and a new Israeli Government have taken office, it is important that that Israeli Government should be ready to enter such negotiations. It is also important that Palestinians should be ready to do so without preconditions and that the United States should be ready to launch a major new initiative.

Sir Menzies Campbell (North East Fife) (LD): My right hon. Friend will recall that it has been the policy of successive British Governments for decades that there should be a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders. In the light of the political situation in Israel and the potential situation after the election, will he give the House his objective assessment of the possibility of ever achieving a solution based on two states and the 1967 boundaries?

Mr Hague:My right hon. and learned Friend accurately describes the position of successive Governments. I have said before in this House that changing facts on the ground, principally the construction of settlements on occupied land, mean that the two-state solution is slipping away. The chances of bringing it about are not yet at an end, but it is very urgent. I do not want to speculate, of course, about the outcome of the election taking place at the moment in Israel, but  I hope that whatever Israeli Government emerge will recognise that we are approaching the last chance of bringing about such a solution.

Mr Douglas Alexander (Paisley and Renfrewshire South) (Lab): Let me pick up where the last question left off. In a speech to the House in November, the Foreign Secretary said:

“If progress on negotiations is not made next year, the two-state solution could become impossible to achieve.”—[Official Report, 28 November 2012; Vol. 554, c. 227.]

Today, he talked again of the greatest efforts since Oslo. In the light of today’s Israeli elections and yesterday’s US presidential inauguration, can he offer the House a little more detail on the substance of the major American initiative of which he has spoken? What other initiatives will be possible in the course of 2013 if we are not to see the end of the two-state solution, as he puts it?

Mr Hague: The short answer on the details of the initiative is no, because it requires the United States to take the lead. That is not because other countries like us are not willing to play our own active part, but because the United States is in a unique position in the world to help bring Israel into a two-state solution. I will be going to Washington next week and discussing the question with the United States. The Secretary of State has changed and there have been many other changes of personnel in the US Administration, and I have put it to them that this should be the single highest priority for new momentum in American foreign policy, even with all the other challenges we face in the world today.

Mr Crispin Blunt (Reigate) (Con): For five and a half years now, the Quartet has followed a largely economic policy in the west bank, personified by the work of Tony Blair, presumably to try to help lay better conditions for a political settlement. That strategy has comprehensively failed as the possibility of a political settlement is much
further away now than it was then. Is it not now time for the Quartet to focus heavily on the politics rather than the economics?

Mr Hague: It is very important that the Quartet does everything that it can to recognise the urgency of what we are speaking about on both sides of the House. At the same time it is very important that we do everything we can to support a Palestinian economy that is in a serious condition. As my hon. Friend knows, we provide £30 million a year in budget support to the Palestinian Authority, and the Department for International Development has provided £349 million in support of Palestinian development in the current four-year spending programme. However, the conditions are difficult, and other nations need to do more. It is important that the Israelis release the revenues that are owed to the Palestinians.

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