JJP lobbies Shadow Minister for the Middle East

Bambos Charalambous

On 16 June 2022, the Lobby Group wrote to the Shadow Minister for the Middle East, Bambos Charalambous, following his article in Labour List, in which he recognised how badly Israel was transgressing Palestinian rights. JJP urged the Labour Party to take concrete steps to end both the occupation and the settlement enterprise.

We had a very useful zoom meeting with the Shadow Minister two weeks later.

We had a very useful zoom meeting with the Shadow Minister two weeks later.

Our letter to the Shadow Minister is below:

Bambos Charalambous MP 16 June 2022

Shadow Minister for the Middle East and North Africa

Dear Mr. Charalambous,

We are very appreciative of your recent article on the Israeli occupation in Labour List. We would like to have a zoom meeting with you to discuss it.

We congratulate the Labour Party on reaffirming its commitment to recognise the State of Palestine immediately when it forms a government. Recognition by Great Britain, following the example of Sweden, will encourage other western countries to follow suit. Not only will that help redress the imbalance in diplomatic influence between Israel and Palestine, it will also send a powerful message to Israel that it cannot continue flouting international law indefinitely.

We also note with approval your statements that “the Israeli occupation…is a fundamental obstacle to achieving this vision {the two-state solution}” and “Of course, the occupation is illegal under international law”. These statements build on the Foreign Office’s pivotal role in designing Security Council Resolution 2334 which was passed during the last days of the Obama Administration in December 2016.

2334 reiterated the absolute illegality of the settlements and their role in entrenching the conflict and in preventing Palestinians from exercising their rights. Your statements recognised that the occupation itself is also fundamental to the conflict and, moreover, that it has itself become illegal because of its duration and the self-evident intention of Israeli governments to make it permanent.

We now urge the Labour Party to take concrete steps to end both occupation and settlement enterprise. Firstly, the party should make a manifesto commitment to ban trade with settlements or import of any Israeli products from the occupied territories, on the basis that illegal policies should not be supported. Secondly, the party should pledge, when in government, to support the investigation of alleged war crimes by the International Criminal Court, whether the allegations concern Israeli officials or Hamas leaders. There should be no immunity for breaking international law, and therefore all credible allegations should be investigated.

A Labour government taking these measures would restore Great Britain’s reputation for upholding international law, which has been badly eroded by the present Conservative government..

We hope to hear from you shortly to arrange a zoom meeting.

Yours sincerely,

Arthur Goodman

Diplomatic and Parliamentary Officer

Jews for Justice for Palestinians

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