Everywhere you go in occupied Palestine there are more Israeli settlements roads and rail under construction. The Wall extends through Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem into the heart of the West Bank to separate settlers from Palestinians. This is no longer an occupation – it is the theft and colonisation of Palestine.
Under international law settlements are illegal. Yet the EU and UK government don’t treat trade and financial transactions with settlements as illegal. If it were money-laundering for drugs, or terrorism, companies would be answerable for their actions. Banks would not be allowed to finance settlements – directly or indirectly.
At the last general election there was a great response to PSC’s campaign to ask all candidates their views on Palestine. The clearest area of Parliamentary support cross-party was that settlements are not only illegal but they are wrong. It is vital that we transform this political will into political action.
‘No more settlements’ should form the backbone of the Labour Party policy on Palestine.
No more money for settlements
Let’s review all UK financial relationships with Israeli settlements. This will be the first step to enable the UK and EU to end economic and business relationships with Israel’s illegal settlements.
No more trade with settlements.
PSC is calling for the UK Government and Europe to impose trade restrictions on Israel so that goods produced in Israeli settlements do not enter the UK and the rest of Europe.
No more investment in companies complicit with settlements.
The FCO has warned of the risks related to economic and financial activities in the settlements1. It is time for the Government to actively discourage companies from business with settlements, and to penalise those that do.
No more arms that can be used in the occupation or to defend settlements.
The UK government criteria says UK arms export licence should not be granted where:
- there is a clear risk of the equipment being used for “internal repression”
- the export would “provoke or prolong armed conflicts or aggravate existing tensions or conflicts;”
Israel fails these tests. Let’s end all arms deals as Israel is known to violate humanitarian international law on a daily basis.
No more settler violence
Earlier this summer Israeli extremists killed a Palestinian child in an arson attack, the child’s parents later died in hospital of their burns. These are not isolated incidents – the UN, says there have been more than 1,600 incidents of settler violence against Palestinians in the last five years. 92.6 percent of complaints have gone without charges being filed according to the Israeli human rights organisation, Yesh Din.
No more ethnic cleansing, annexation.
Settlements are not a ‘victimless crime’. Those Palestinians who are most vulnerable to home demolitions and evictions are those living in the areas close to settlements. All Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the West Bank are profoundly impacted by Israel’s security apparatus, resulting in long delays and detours, humiliation at checkpoints, and expropriation of homes and land.
The World Bank assesses that if Palestinians had unlimited access to Area C, where Israel has located its settlements, it would benefit from direct growth in its economy of US$ 2.2 billion per annum – a sum equivalent to 23 percent of 2011 Palestinian GDP2.
Settlements no more
We must do all we can to ensure there are no more settlements.
A first step is to end all links between settlements and the economy of the UK and encourage the EU to do the same. We must end our complicity with this illegal and unjust project, and do all we can to ensure there are no more settlements; settlements no more.