Labour members pass motion condemning Israel, calling for sanctions

Labour Party. Editorial credit: chrisdorney / Shutterstock.com

Delegates at the annual Labour Party Conference in Brighton have passed a resolution condemning Israel for its attack on the Al-Aqsa mosque and the ongoing Nakba in Palestine, and have also called for sanctions against Tel Aviv.

The motion, which was brought by Young Labour, was overwhelmingly passed but later drew criticism from the party leadership.

The motion read: “Conference condemns the ongoing Nakba in Palestine, Israel’s militarised violence attacking the Al Aqsa mosque, the forced displacements from Sheikh Jarrah and the deadly assault on Gaza.”

It backed sanctions on Israel for its actions.

“Action is needed now due to Israel’s continuing illegal actions and that Labour should adhere to an ethical policy on all UK trade with Israel, including stopping any arms trade used to violate Palestinian human rights and trade with illegal settlements.”

Highlighting reports by B’Tselem and Human Rights Watch, the motion stated that the reports “conclude unequivocally that Israel is practising the crime of apartheid as defined by the UN.”

It also reiterated the call for effective measures to stop Israel from building illegal settlements and the reversal of the annexation of Palestine.

“Conference resolves to support effective measures including sanctions, as called for by Palestinian civil society, against actions by the Israeli government that are illegal according to international law; in particular to ensure that Israel stops the building of settlements, reverses any annexation, ends of occupation of the West Bank, the blockade of Gaza, brings down the Wall and respects the right of Palestinian people, as enshrined in international law, to return to their homes.”

It added that: “together with the de facto annexation of Palestinian land by accelerated settlement building and statements of Israel’s intention to proceed with annexation, it is ever clearer that Israel is intent on eliminating any prospects of Palestinian self-determination.”

The Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (PSC) called the motion historic.

The Boycott Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement had this to say:

 

But Steve McCabe MP, the chair of Labour Friends of Israel, said: “the composite motion is too shouty, it’s too angry, it’s too one-sided and it’s not at all focused on the search for peace.”

 

Calling on the party to follow a fair and balanced approach, Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy distanced herself from the motion said: “There can only be a lasting peace through a safe and secure Israel existing alongside a sovereign and viable Palestinian state…

“Therefore we cannot support this motion. It does not address the issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a comprehensive or balanced way.”

But Jawad Khan, of Young Labour, said: “The motion before you today will not only send our uncompromising solidarity with the Palestinian people by calling for sanctions against the state that is practising war crimes, it will bring us one step closer to finally ending the shameful century of British complicity and the denial of the right to self-determination, liberation and return.”

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