Over 60 MPs attended meetings at the British Parliament on Wednesday 22nd November, during which they were briefed by their constituents on Israeli settlement building and the military detention of Palestinian children by Israeli authorities.
According Palestine Solidarity Campaign over 500 MPs were contacted ahead of the lobby.
Meetings with MPs who were unable to attend the lobby day will be taking place in constituency offices across the country.
The Campaign said that the MPs who attended the lobby were encouraged to sign an Early Day Motion (EDM) on the military detention of Palestinian children, sponsored by Richard Burden MP, Lisa Nandy MP, Andy Slaughter MP, Alistair Carmichael MP, Tommy Sheppard MP, and Grahame Morris MP adding that thE MP received briefing papers from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Amnesty International.
The lobby was attended by special guest Ayed Abu-Eqtaish, Accountability Programme Director at Defense for Children International- Palestine, who is currently on a speaking tour of the UK.
The day concluded with an evening panel discussion in Parliament on Israeli settlements and Palestinian child prisoners, featuring Grahame Morris MP, Thangam Debbonaire MP, Andy Slaughter MP, Dr Philipa Whitford MP, Richard Burden MP, Ambassador Manuel Hassassian, NUT Vice-President Kiri Tunks, NUT ex-President Philipa Harvey, Ayed Abu Eqtaish (DCI-P,) Tareq Shrourou (Director, Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights,) and Hugh Lanning (Chair, PSC.)
Caroline Lucas MP also sent a statement of support to the lobby, a portion of which reads as follows:“There is an undeniable link between systemic human rights violations against Palestinians and the ongoing military occupation and, as we have come together today to acknowledge, it is often children in occupied Palestine who are subject to the most egregious treatment.”
Ben Jamal, Director of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said:“Over a number of years, we have seen the annual national lobby for Palestine go from strength to strength, with MPs from across the political spectrum expressing their support and wanting to engage with these vital issues.
Dedicated activists around the country are holding their elected representatives to account, this year demanding action on Israeli settlement building and the detention of Palestinian children; and we are seeing a growing desire from policy-makers to tackle these issues. The task remains to harness this growing body of support into meaningful policy change; to turn rhetoric into action.”
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign is the largest UK civil society organisation dedicated to securing Palestinian human rights established in 1982.
With more than sixty branches across the country, we campaign against Israel’s flouting of international law, the continued military occupation of Palestine, and systematic discrimination against Palestinians.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign work to build awareness amongst politicians and the public of the continual injustices and advocate for peaceful and just solutions that respect the rights and dignity of Palestinians and Israelis.
Approximately 600,000 Israeli settlers live in 196 illegal settlements built inside the West Bank and construction is ongoing, particularly in East Jerusalem, where the government has just announced the creation of several thousand new settlement units.
Settlements and their associated infrastructure, such as roads and military outposts, fracture Palestinian communities and leave them vulnerable to violence and harassment from Israeli soldiers and settlers.
Since 1967, Palestinians in the Occupied West Bank have lived under Israeli military law and are prosecuted in Israeli military courts.
Israel is the only country in the world that systematically and automatically prosecutes around 500-700 Palestinian children a year in military courts lacking basic and fundamental fair trial guarantees.
Since 2000, at least 8,000 Palestinian children have been prosecuted in the Israeli military detention system which is notorious for its systematic ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children.