Over 100 British parliamentarians, trade union officials and prominent figures in civil society have called for people to speak out in opposition to Israel’s planned annexation of the West Bank in contravention of international law. Signatories include Stephen Kinnock MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Lord Peter Hain, Len McCluskey of Unite, Mary Bousted of the National Education Union, novelist Philip Pullman, actress Maxine Peake and musician Brian Eno.
This follows a call from Palestinian civil society issued on 21 May for “effective measures” by all states to stop Israel’s illegal annexation. A letter signed by nearly 150 parliamentarians sent to Prime Minister Boris Johnson on 1 May urged him to make a public statement telling Israel clearly that any annexation of occupied Palestinian territory “will have severe consequences including sanctions”.
The new statement was coordinated by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), which seeks to push the annexation issue up the political agenda in Britain and elsewhere. Members of the public are asked to sign and promote the initiative.
“Israel’s plans to annex further swathes of the West Bank is a Rubicon moment for the international community,” explained PSC Director Ben Jamal. “Failure to act will give a clear message to Israel that it can continue to trample over international law and violate human rights with impunity. The UK government must make clear that any annexation will be responded to in the same way as the UK has responded to similar breaches of international law such as Russia’s seizure of the Crimea, through the imposition of sanctions.”
This is the latest initiative to warn against Israel’s ongoing takeover of Palestinian territory. Last week, Democrat Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, said that Israel would be “undermining” vital pillars of US-Israel relations if it goes ahead with July’s annexation. She joined European and western leaders in condemnation of the Israeli move.