17 MAR 2016
Occupied Palestinian Territories: Development
On Thursday there was a House of Lords Grand Committee short debate on the following question asked by Lord Hylton:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government to what extent they will implement the recommendations of the House of Commons International Development Committee in their report of July 2014, "The UK’s Development Work in the Occupied Palestinian Territories."
The full debate can be read at this link. Lord Sheikh spoke at 4.30pm and his speech is copied below.
My Lords, I am glad that the Government have agreed to support the recommendations of the International Development Committee. Achieving lasting peace between Israel and Palestine must remain a significant priority for the international community.
In October last year in the other place, MPs voted by 274 to 12 on a Motion to recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel. We must all work to the establishment of a two-stage solution, with a viable sovereign independent state of Palestine living peacefully alongside a secure Israel. I ask the Minister: what is our current attitude in regard to recognition of the state of Palestine?
I care about humanitarian issues and have been involved in facilitating four convoys of humanitarian aid being sent to Gaza following the Israeli invasion in 2009. I subsequently visited Gaza and saw for myself the devastation that has been done and tragically continues to this date. I have also visited Israel and the West Bank. I am very concerned about what is going on there with regard to stabbings and other killings which are being carried out by both sides. The cycle of violence appears to be unending.
There are commonalities between Islam and Judaism and it is therefore important that there is a dialogue between the two sides. I met with the acting ambassador of Israel last week and welcomed the positive statement he made about the passage of humanitarian aid to Gaza. We would, however, like to see a peaceful settlement and a lifting of the blockade. The UK and others must continue to support peace talks, keep hopes of the two-state solution alive and provide funding to support the Palestinian people and the development of a Palestinian state.
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