Israel and Palestine, by Ian Lucas MP

Posted by Caabu on 17 May 2012

Ian Lucas MP, shadow Middle East minister, returned earlier this month from a Caabu delegation to the West Bank.  Here he reflects on the trip and the state of the Middle East peace process in a blog for the Huffington Post.

 

If reports that prime minister Netanyahu has established a new coalition in Israel in order to help him rejuvenate the peace process with the Palestinians are right, it is needed desperately.

If a process can be described to exist, it is in dire straits. Palestinians, on every front, pursue last ditch measures: administrative detainees are on hunger strike, approaching death. The Palestinian Authority plans to seek recognition of statehood from the United Nations, despite warnings from the United States that such a policy will lead to withdrawal of aid, threatening the one bright spot on the West Bank - increased levels of successful security by the authority.

Still, Israel continues to establish settlements on the West Bank. In two visits this week, I saw, first, an absurd situation in the ancient centre of Hebron, where settlers are protected by a massive Israeli Army presence, stopping day to day life for many local Palestinians who try to run shops and travel to their own homes. Secondly, I saw the encroachment of settlers on grazing land used by local Bedouin tribes, legitimised by demolition orders. One new prefab erected by a European NGO, and the toilet nearby, was to be demolished on 24 hours notice by local administrative order.

 

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