In recent days some residents have sent me the questionnaire produced by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and have asked for my general views.
I strongly support a two-state settlement that establishes a viable and secure Palestinian state alongside a secure and internationally recognised Israel. I believe that our Government should be working internationally at the United Nations and through the European Union to support renewed negotiations to achieve this.
I believe that the United Kingdom government should apply the principles of international law, equality and human rights to its dealings with all participants in the conflict in the Middle East including the states of Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority, the PLO, Fatah, Hamas, and the various other factions and groups.
I consider the construction of Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to be illegal and unjustifiable. I oppose all illegal settlement activity.
I agree that one of the earliest actions of the next UK Government should be the recognition of Palestine. I spoke in the recent Parliamentary debate in favour of the recognition of the state of Palestine. You can hear my speech on my website.
I agree that the blockade on Gaza should be lifted by both Egypt and Israel and there should be urgent humanitarian access to Gaza. I have signed Early Day motion 827 which states;
“That this House agrees with the United Nations Secretary-General that there is a dire humanitarian situation in Gaza; fears the outbreak of further hostilities unless the situation improves dramatically; notes the considerable amount of British and other international aid required to keep Gaza from deteriorating further and to assist in the reconstruction of infrastructure and homes; regrets that the Israeli authorities continue to refuse access to British elected representatives to visit Gaza via Erez checkpoint; further notes that, given the dangerous security situation in the Sinai, the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing is the only viable entry point; and asks the Government to do everything in its power to persuade the Israeli authorities to permit parliamentary access into Gaza to assess the situation, the needs of the population and how British funds are being spent.”
I support the European Union policy that all products from Israeli settlements in the West Bank should be clearly labelled. However I do not support a boycott of Israel or attempts to deny its right to exist. As Labour Leader Ed Miliband has stated: "We must do nothing that will get in the way of peace. So we are clear that the threat of boycotts of Israel is the wrong response. We do and we will resolutely oppose the isolation of Israel."
I believe the European Union code of conduct on arms exports should be strengthened. An incoming Labour government should review all arms sales to all countries in the Middle East, including Israel and its neighbours.