As the Corona virus remains with us, our lives continue to be impacted and there is much uncertainty about what the future will bring. I appreciate all that you are doing to ensure the well-being of our community so that the needs of all people, young and old, are met, that the NHS is able to cope with the demand for medical care whether or not it is Covid-related and that every effort is being made to keep our economy going in whatever way is possible.
I write to you now on another matter of concern to me: the way that Israeli authorities have continued to demolish the homes and livelihood-related structures of Palestinians even during the Covid-19 pandemic. The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs Palestine announced on 9 September that during August, Israeli authorities displaced 205 Palestinians (105 adults and 100 children) due to the demolition of their homes and that this was the highest monthly statistic since July 2017. Jamie McGoldrick, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for the Occupied Palestine Territory, stated that these were all in violation of international law and the UN called upon Israel to immediately halt these unlawful demolitions. The EU also sent out a press release with the same message. This matters to me because I have visited the Occupied Palestine Territory and I have met with Palestinians where I heard their stories of suffering as they live under a repressive settler-colonial regime where they are not granted their human rights.
Sadly, we have heard words of condemnation before and yet nothing changes. Israel continues to violate international laws with no consequences. Britain, as a signatory to the Fourth Geneva Convention has a responsibility to ensure that governments are called to account when there are violations. The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) states that since 1967 when Israel’s occupation began, more than 50,000 Palestinian homes and structures have been demolished. How would you feel if you had been born a Palestinian and had your beloved home demolished with the world remaining silent?
Can you please tell me what you believe needs to happen to get Israel’s policy of home demolitions to cease? What you are doing to see that international law is respected?
It seems that in many respects we are at a cross-roads in world order and whether or not law means anything to those who govern. I should be most grateful if you would ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to make urgent representations to the Israeli authorities to bring these demolitions to an end without delay.
As a member of your constituency for whom being able to vote is important to me, I now await your response to the questions that I have put to you. Thank you.