On Wednesday 27th November (from 2pm-6pm) hundreds of supporters will gather together in Parliament to call on MPs to take action for Palestinian human rights and against ethnic cleansing and racism. Unable to see her MP, Karen Bradley, Cina Zacune recently returned from olive picking in the West Bank, has written to the Leek Post and Times instead.
Wednesday 27th November is national lobby day for Palestine and I have requested a meeting with my MP Karen Bradley at the House of Commons.
A recent visit to Palestine has made me even more aware of the many ways in which Palestinians are denied their human rights by the Israeli government. Palestinians have been subject to forced displacement since Israel became established in 1948.
In my view, the most concerning issue is the fact that every year 500 – 700 Palestinian children, some as young as 12, are detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system. UNICEF analysed over 400 sworn testimonies of children and concluded that:
- Many children are aggressively detained in the middle of the night
- Children are painfully tied, blindfolded and frequently endure physical and verbal abuse
- Children are interrogated without legal advice and without a parent being present
- Most children plead guilty to reduce the time they will spend in detention
- Most children are held in prison in Israel in violation of the 4th Geneva Convention.
There are of course many ways in which Palestinians’ rights are being violated including forcible displacement of Palestinians particularly in Jerusalem and the West Bank, mass expulsions of Bedouins in the Negev, the siege of Gaza and the illegal treatment of Palestinian prisoners.
It is clear that the Israeli government will not change without external pressure. That pressure will not come from the United States, so it must come from European countries like ours. Britain’s historic obligation to Palestine and our role in international politics means that we are key to achieving change.
We are calling for the British government to make public, urgent and sustained representations to Israel on these issues.
Please lobby your MP and show them that they must respect Palestinian human rights if they want our support. Write to your MP at House of Commons, London, SW1A OAA or find other contact details for your MP (telephone, email, Tweet etc.) at www.parliament.uk