Parliamentarians, trade unions, civil society organisations  speak out against annexation plans

 PNN/ London/

Over 100 Parliamentarians, trade union general secretaries, and prominent figures have issued a call for people to speak out in opposition to Israel’s plans to annex huge swathes of the occupied West Bank starting in July. Signatories include Stephen Kinnock, Jeremy Corbyn, Lord Peter Hain, Len McKluskey, Mary Bousted, novelist Philip Pullman, actress Maxine Peake and musician Brian Eno

This follows a call from Palestinian civil society issued on May 21st for “effective measures” by all states to stop Israel’s illegal annexation, and a letter signed by nearly 150 Parliamentarians sent to the Prime Minister on May 1st urging him to make clear publicly to Israel that any annexation of occupied Palestinian territory “will have severe consequences including sanctions”

The statement has been signed by over 30 parliamentarians, 12 trade unions and trade union general secretaries as well as several other prominent individuals. These include writers Philip Pullman, Colm Tóibín, Irvine Welsh and Yann Martel, filmmakers Mike Leigh and Ken Loach, actors Julie Christie and Maxine Peake and musicians Brian Eno and Wolf Alice.

The new Israeli Government has said that it intends to annex large swathes of Palestinian land in the West Bank starting in July, land which was militarily occupied in 1967. This would be the culmination of years of appropriation of land – through the forced displacement of Palestinians, settlement and the annexation of East Jerusalem. Annexation, illegal under international law, is the forcible and unilateral acquisition of territory over which it has no recognised sovereignty and to make it an integral part of the state – in this case, Israel.

Palestinian civil society has made a global call for ‘effective measures’ to be taken to stop this annexation happening. The statement launched today responds to that call and asserts that if measures are to be effective, this means the UK should now, at the very least, be adhering to an ethical policy on all the UK’s trade with Israel, in particular by applying international law on settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories and stopping any arms trade with Israel that is used in violation of the human rights of Palestinians.

The statement, coordinated by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, seeks to push the issue of annexation up the political agenda. Members of the public are asked to sign and promote the following statement on social media:

 Ben Jamal, Director of Palestine Solidarity Campaign said: “Israel’s plans to annex further swathes of the West Bank is a Rubicon moment for the international community. Failure to act will give a clear message to Israel that it can continue to trample over international law and violate human rights with impunity. The UK government must make clear that any annexation will be responded to in the same way as the UK has responded to similar breaches of international law such as Russia’s seizure of the Crimea, through the imposition of sanctions”