Labour MP Wes Streeting has tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament condemning Israeli demolitions of Palestinian-owned buildings in East Jerusalem.
The EDM received huge support from the Labour benches, including from Jewish Labour MPs Ruth Smeeth and Dame Margaret Hodge, as well as Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner.
Streeting tabled the condemnation after bulldozers demolished ten Palestinian homes in the Sur Bahir neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, an area under the control of the Palestinian Authority under the Oslo Accords.
Israel said the buildings were too close to the security barrier but Palestinian residents said they were on West Bank land, and that the Palestinian Authority gave them construction permits. A long-running legal battle ended recently when Israel’s Supreme Court said the buildings could be razed.
The demolitions have been condemned by the European Union and by Ambassador Karen Pierce, the UK’s Permanent Representative to the UN, at a Security Council session on Tuesday.
She said the demolitions in Sur Bahir were “particularly egregious, in part because much of the area lies in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas… The Israeli authorities have a responsibility to provide appropriate protection to the Palestinian civilian population”.
However American envoys told the Security Council that they would veto any draft UN statement criticising the demolitions.
Streeting said the move “sets back the prospects for peace and a two-state solution” and urged the Government “to condemn these demolitions and make representations to the Israeli government to cease these demolitions immediately”.
Speaking to Jewish News, he said: “These demolitions aren’t just the latest in a long and unacceptable series of demolitions they set a dangerous precedent and inflict further harm on the prospects for peace and a two state solution. That the motion is supported by both Friends of Israel and Friends of Palestine and the Middle East MPs should be seen as an indication of how far the Government of Israel has moved beyond the realms of what is considered to be reasonable. Our concerns are echoed by Israeli and Palestinian human rights organisations and should be taken seriously.”
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