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An e-newsletter from the Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine.
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Palestine Post #2

 

Dear Member,

Welcome to LDFP's e-newsletter for June 2014. 

Thank you for the kind comments we received regarding the new format. Please keep your feedback and ideas coming in. 

Please do remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter using the social media buttons immediately below this section and check the website for regular Is/Pal news and comment. 

In this edition of Palestine Post...

i) LDFP News
ii) Palestine in Parliament
iii) Eye on Palestine
iv) Campaigns + Reports
v) Top 5 reads

Regards,

Team LDFP
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LDFP news:

DATE FOR YOUR DIARIES! - LDFP will be holding its AGM on September 8th at 5pm in Fielden House, Little College Street, Westminster. We invite members to attend. 

LDFP is delighted to welcome on board yet another new pair of hands in the form of Nicholas Pentney. Nicholas has completed an MA in International Relations of the Middle East at the University of Exeter and has extensive experience working within the Liberal Democrat party. Nicholas will be helping us with our campaigning work and our membership drive. 

As promised in the last newsletter, LDFP recently submitted a document to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee on the subject of the FCO's human rights work relating to Israel/Palestine. Our submission has been formatted and will be appearing on the ldpf.eu website in the coming days. 

Following the collapse of the US brokered Israeli-Palestinian peace talks LDFP issued a nine point plan detailing recommendations for the British Government. This document has also been published and will be appearing on the website soon. We invite LDFP members to comment on our proposals and to circulate the document throughout the party. 

Palestine in Parliament:

Andrew George MP, John Leech MP and Mike Thornton MP have all signed EDM 49 entitled 'Treatment of Palestinian Children' 

Several questions have recently been tabled by Lib Dem members in both houses. We look forward to bringing you more details in the next newsletter. 

Eye on Palestine:

Pope Francis visited Israel and the OPT last week. The Pope made headlines around the world when he made an unscheduled stop at the separation wall to pray. He addressed Palestinians in Bethlehem, calling for peace and making references to a Palestinian state – his speech is available to read here. Forming the backdrop to Manger Square where he spoke were posters of biblical scenes overlapped with modern day photographs of Palestinian suffering, an exhibition organised by the Palestinian Museum.

The Pope also arranged a meeting in the Vatican between Mahmoud Abbas and Shimon Peres which took place this week. In their first public meeting for a year, the two leaders joined the Pope in praying together for peace.

The other major event was of course the inauguration of the new unity government, marking an end to the 7 year rift between Hamas and Fatah and the separate governance of the Gaza Strip and West Bank. William Hague congratulated the new prime minister, Rami Hamdallah, while the US and EU have both said they will work with the new government much to the disappointment of Israeli PM Netanyahu who warned the EU that providing legitimacy to the unity government was a ‘mistake’. Israel has refused 3 new ministers entry to the West Bank from the Gaza Strip. In response to the formation of the unity government, Israel has announced it will build 3000 more settler homes in the occupied territories. 

The process of reconciliation between the PA and Hamas has been less than smooth, with multiple incidents of clashes between rival supporters in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank over the past week. 

Following on from the news of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s petition regarding security company G4S, Archbishop Desmond Tutu has led protests at the company’s AGM against its involvement in the Israeli prison system. In an open letter published in the Guardian, Tutu as well as other notable names such as Noam Chomsky, have called on the company to stop supplying equipment to Israeli jails. It has also been reported this week that the Gates Foundation has sold its entire stake in G4S.

The UN chief Ban Ki Moon has expressed concern over the health of the Palestinian prisoners who have been on hunger strike for over 6 weeks. Many of the hunger strikers are administrative detainees who are being held without charge or trial. Several human rights organisations have written a letter to Catherine Ashton, EU representative for foreign affairs, calling on her to voice concerns over the hunger striking prisoners and pressure Israel to end its policy of administrative detention. Netanyahu is currently pushing for legislation that would allow doctors to feed prisoners against their will – something that the Israeli Medical Association opposes – read more on this here and here.

The Palestinian Foreign Minister, Riad Malki, has appealed to Catherine Ashton to condemn violent 'price-tag' attacks on Palestinians by settlers and to label as terrorists groups who perpetrate these attacks. 
 

Campaigns and Reports:

The Israeli advocacy organisation Breaking the Silence commemorated its 10 year anniversary by reading out 10 hours of Israeli soldiers' accounts of the occupation. For those who aren't aware of the organisation, read more about them here. Breaking the Silence gathers testimonies from soldiers who are willing to speak out about their personal experiences of the conflict. One soldier recounts, Provocation and reaction" is the act of entering a village, making a lot of noise, waiting for the stones to be thrown at you and then you arrest them, saying: "There, they're throwing stones.”

Campaign: Via Adameer - Stop Administrative Detention

Petition: Prime Minister of Israel Benyamin Netanyahu: We call on you to stop the eviction of Al Arakib
Top 5 reads:

1 - A President who opposes a Palestinian state - bad for Israel?  - Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel

2 - Hamas and Abbas driven together by desperation - Abdel Bari Atwan, Electronic Intifada 

3 - The ethnic cleansing of Bedouin communities in the Eastern Jerusalem governorate - Factsheet by the PLO's Negotiation Affairs Department 

4 -  Palestine's unity government: cause for celebration and scepticism  - Sharif Nashashibi, Al Jazeera

5 - Jerusalem: One city, two capitals for two people - Yossi Mekelberg, Al Arabiya
LDFP exists to fight for the rights of the Palestinian people through the medium of the Liberal Democrat Party. For a full articulation of our position, see here
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