Caabu delegate asks PM about forced eviction in East Jerusalem and illegal settlements
Following a Caabu and Medical Aid for Palestinians delegation to Palestine from 15-19 February 2016, Labour MP and Shadow International Development Minister Imran Hussain asked the Prime Minister David Cameron about forced evictions in East Jerusalem and illegal Israeli settlements at Prime Minister’s Questions on 24 February 2016. In response, Cameron said that “the effective encirclement of East Jerusalem” and settlements was “genuinely shocking.”
Last week, together with several of my hon. Friends, I visited Palestine, where we went to the home of Nora and her family, who have lived in the old city of East Jerusalem since 1953. Israeli settlers, however, are now trying to force Nora from her home of over 60 years. There are many other cases like that. Does the Prime Minister agree with me that illegal settlements and constructions are a major roadblock that hinder peaceful negotiations? What are this Government doing to help prevent these infringements into Palestinian lives and land?
David Cameron responded:
“The hon. Gentleman’s question is incredibly important. I am well known as a strong friend of Israel, but I have to say that the first time I visited Jerusalem, had a proper tour around that wonderful city and saw what has happened with the effective encirclement of East Jerusalem—occupied East Jerusalem— I found it genuinely shocking. What this Government have consistently done and go on doing is to say that we are supporters of Israel, but we do not support illegal settlements and we do not support what is happening in East Jerusalem. It is very important for this capital city to be maintained in the way it was in the past.”
You can watch Imran Hussain’s question at Prime Minister’s Questions here.
There has been significant media coverage of Imran Hussain’s question, and the response from David Cameron.
David Cameron has branded Israel’s construction of illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land as “genuinely shocking”. The Prime Minister said that though he was a strong supporter of Israel, he had been taken aback by what had seen first hands on visits to the occupied territories in Jerusalem. “I am well-known as being a strong friend of Israel but I have to say the first time I visited Jerusalem and had a proper tour around that wonderful city and saw what has happened with the effective encirclement of East Jerusalem – occupied East Jerusalem – it is genuinely shocking,” he told MPs in the House of Commons. “What this government has consistently done and gone on doing is saying yes, we are supporters of Israel, but we do not support illegal settlements, we do not support what is happening in East Jerusalem and it’s very important that this capital city is maintained in the way that it was in the past.” The Prime Minister had been asked by Labour MP Imran Hussain what the Government was doing “to prevent the infringement into Palestinian lives and land”.
The British prime minister was speaking during a parliamentary question period in response to a query from opposition Labor MP Imran Hussain, who asked: "Does the prime minister agree with me that illegal settlements and constructions are a major roadblock that hinder peaceful negotiations?" After Hussain described a visit he made to a Palestinian family in the Old City of Jerusalem, whom he claimed was fighting eviction by Jewish settlers, Hussain also asked what the British government was doing “to help prevent the infringement into Palestinian lives and land."
Cameron made the comments while answering a question from Labour MP Imran Hussain at the weekly instalment of Prime Minister’s Questions at the Westminster parliament. Hussain said he had recently returned from a visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territories where he had seen Palestinian families living in the Old City of Jerusalem coming under pressure to move from Israeli settlers. Hussain asked the prime minister if he agreed that “illegal settlements are a major roadblock hindering peaceful negotiations”. The Labour MP also asked what the UK is doing to “stop infringement into Palestinian lives and land”.
(Times of Israel) UK’s Cameron calls East Jerusalem construction ‘genuinely shocking’
His comments came in response to a question by Bradford East Labour MP Imran Hussein, who said he had visited the home of a woman in the Old City of Jerusalem who was one of many people being forced out by settlers. “Does the prime minister agree with me that illegal settlements and construction are a major roadblock that hinder peaceful negotiations and what is this government doing to help prevent the infringement of Palestinian lives and land?” Imran asked
Jerusalem, like London, is a city where every resident has the right to live where he wants and were discrimination based on religion, race or sex is prohibited," said Mayor Nir Barkat in a press release on Thursday. Barkat's statement came in response to remarks made by British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday, in which he stated that the UK does not support the actions of Israel in east Jerusalem in response to a question about London's plans for the Palestinian issue. "I am well known for being a strong friend of Israel, but I have to say the first time I visited Jerusalem and had a proper tour around that wonderful city and saw what has happened with the effective encirclement of east Jerusalem, occupied east Jerusalem, it is genuinely shocking," British Media quoted Cameron as saying to parliament members in the House of Commons. Barkat responded that "Britain is a great and important friend of Israel and Jerusalem, but Cameron is mistaken in his statements due to a lack of knowledge and facts of the reality on the ground." "What building in the east of the city is he shocked by?" asked Barkat. "By the new and advanced schools that we have built there? The new roads we are paving there? The child welfare clinics and community centers we have started there?" The level of investment in the area is not found in any other country in the Middle East, claimed Barkat, "not in the Palestinian Territories, not in Syria and not in Iraq." "The status of east Jerusalem residents is better today than in any of the countries surrounding us, certainly better than in the time of the British Mandate." Barkat encouraged the British leader to come visit the city and see the improvements for himself. "I invite Cameron, a true friend of Israel, to come on a tour with me to see the reduced social gaps in east Jerusalem and to work with us in promoting development and cooperation rather than build walls and barriers in the heart of Jerusalem," said Barkat.
(Bradford Telegraph & Argus) Bradford MP quizzes Prime Minister over Palestine
(World Jewish Congress) British PM calls Israeli settlement building 'genuinely shocking'