John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
  Gaza
I have been asked what actions I have taken recently in respect of the dispute in the middle east.

I wrote to the Secretary of State on 2nd July concerned about the disproportionate response of the Israeli Government to the murders of three Israeli youths.

I issued a public statement at the demonstration in the City Centre on Friday 15th July.
"Collective punishment was one of the more reviled acts of the Nazis in the second world war.  If we wish to bring greater peace in the world then we need to avoid escalating disputes between groups of people.  The use of techniques which are akin to collective punishment are not a step in the direction of peace and should be condemned as against international humanitarian law (Rule 103)."

I spoke at a meeting on Saturday 16th July.  I explained at that meeting that the murder of innocents was not on the pathway to peace as it increased anger.

I have also signed a number of Early Day Motions relevant to the issues in recent weeks.
EDM 250
That this House regards Israel's latest attack on the Gaza Strip, Operation Protective Edge, as a disproportionate escalation of violence against Palestinians; notes that since the end of Operation Cast Lead on 19 January 2009 Israel has killed 490 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip; calls for an immediate end to Israeli military strikes against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and military incursions into Palestinian population centres in the West Bank, both of which constitute collective punishment and are in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention; calls for an immediate end to retaliatory rocket attacks from Gaza; and urges Israel as the occupying power to de-escalate the conflict.

EDM 246
That this House notes that once again Palestine's Gaza region has come under attack by the Israeli Defence Force; further notes that in this wholly unequal cycle of violence 490 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed by Israel since the end of Operation Cast Lead in 2009, and three Israelis; further notes that in this current attack Defence 4 Children International Palestine report that eight children have been killed and Palestinian writer and health worker, Mona Elfarra, reports the, not unusual, targeting of health centres including the European Hospital East of Khan Younis where many were both suffering and sheltering; and calls on the Government to do everything within its power to bring about an end to the collective punishment of Palestinans and the occupation that is a virtual death sentence for them.

EDM 204
That this House notes with concern that, despite being a clear and egregious violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel recently announced that it will return to a policy of demolishing the homes of Palestinians suspected and convicted of involvement in terrorism and other violence; deplores and denounces the decision of the Netanyahu-led government in Israel for resuming this questionable practice which human rights group B'Tselem has stated harms only innocents and not the accused; further notes that in 2005 an Israeli military report concluded that the policy of punitive home demolitions did not act as an effective deterrent against terrorism; affirms Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention that the destruction of private property is permitted only where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations; believes that the demolition of homes of innocent family members of people accused of crimes constitutes collective punishment; further believes that Israeli government statements on this matter exposes the absence of the rule of law under Israel's occupation and that revenge, demonisation and absolute disregard for the lives and rights of the Palestinians under its control now defines Israeli activities in the occupied Palestinian Territories; urges the Government to condemn Israel's actions as cruel, inhumane and a degrading punishment; calls for urgent action to be taken to oppose these policies; and further calls on the Government to pressure the State of Israel and ensure accountability for any violations that occur as a result of its renewal of demolitions.

EDM 148
That this House calls for the immediate release of the three Israeli teenagers, Eyal Yifrah, aged 19, Gilad Shaar, aged 16 and Naftali Frenkel, aged 16, who were abducted whilst hitchhiking in the West Bank on 12 June 2014; supports the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs' strong condemnation of the kidnapping; notes the probable involvement of the Hamas organisation in this despicable terrorist act; and calls on the Government to continue to do all it can to help secure the release of the teenagers.

Back in the 2012 session i signed EDM 502
That this House supports recognition by the UN of Palestine as a state alongside the state of Israel.

I signed another EDM  254 on 22nd July   http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2014-15/284
That this House notes the widespread cross-party questioning of Israel's wholly disproportionate and brutal attack on the Palestinian people of Gaza as expressed in the Chamber on 21 July 2014; further notes that thousands of people marched in protest in London at this attack on 19 July 2014; further notes that an even greater number will attend another demonstration on 26 July 2014; further notes the Gaza weekend death toll of more than 150 Palestinians with a disproportionate number of women and children; further notes the repetitive Israeli media spin about targeting militants; acknowledges the strength of character of Palestinians and their medical workers including Dr Mads Gilbert who describes the situation vividly, 'the rivers of blood will keep running the coming night' and who calls upon leaders to spend 'just one night' in Gaza which would 'change history'; and calls on the Government to do everything in its power to end the slaughter of the Palestinian people.

I also signed the PSC Letter presented on 25th July 

 
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