Tommy Sheppard

MP for Edinburgh East

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Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

I am a longstanding advocate of the Palestinian people and am vice convenor of the All Party Group on Palestine.  I am very proud to have written the motion and worked with colleagues across the political parties to succeed in having the motion discussed in the main chamber.

It is clear that if there is to be a viable two-state solution then the occupation has to end and the settlers will either need to be relocated or become citizens of a new Palestine. It’ll be one of the most difficult and complicated negotiations in international conflict resolution. But unless a halt is called to the settlement building programme and both sides commit to starting peace talks the situation will only get worse.

And ultimately, you cannot have a two-state solution whilst one state (Israel) militarily occupies the land designated for the other (Palestine).

Despite being one the main sponsors of the debate, in the end I only got three minutes to argue for the motion and while I know I could always benefit from being more concise - three minutes to talk about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is quite a tall order. You can watch what I did manage to fit in here.

I have since written to Tobias Ellwood to reiterate my four key asks of the UK Government:

  1. A timetable for recognition of a Palestinian state
  2. For the UK to be an active participant and not a passive bystander in international talks
  3. Implement UN resolution 2334 with regard to differentiation between Israeli settlements and Israel proper
  4. Diplomatic and development efforts to support peace groups in Israel

I'm delighted that the motion was supported by MPs from all parties and in the end was agreed unanimously. I hope the Government will take note of the strength of feeling and take action to stop Israel's continued development of illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land which pushes the prospect of peace further away than ever.

The Facts on the Ground
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Monday, 06 July 2020

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