Parliamentary action in 2009:
New postcard to send to MPs – while Gaza starves, illegal settlement produce is sold in your supermarkets!
- Please ask your MP to sign EDMs - please urge your MP to sign EDM 112 on Gaza; EDM 224 on Palestinians and peace in the Middle East; and EDM xxx on settlement goods .
Pressure that has been applied by PSC members and supporters is clearly having an impact on parliament. Ministers were well aware of the strength of feeling of the hundreds who lobbied parliament on 19 November, and statements inside parliament referring to the work that is being done up and down the country demonstrates the importance of continuing to lobby MPs.
Two issues are being taken up in particular – the siege on Gaza , and Israeli settlement goods. Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell’s answered a parliamentary question, making clear that ‘we consider all settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories to be illegal under international law and a serious obstacle to peace’. A Westminster Hall debate on settlement goods, which took place on 17 December, heard MPs sharply criticise Israel 's settlements policy. Responding to the debate, Bill Rammell said that 'we are working on what effective action we can take actively to discourage settlement expansion, part of which is making sure that the mechanisms we already have in place work. One such mechanism is the EU-Israel association agreement, which does not entitle settlements to the preferential tariffs that we give to Israeli goods.
We have heard worrying reports that settlement goods are benefiting, so we are investigating'. He also indicated that the work done on this by PSC members and supporters is bearing fruit, saying that 'some British consumers have told us that they want to know whether they are buying goods from settlements and I believe that we have an obligation to ensure clear labelling.'
The horrific siege on Gaza is also being raised, with pressure on MPs during this parliamentary session is already delivering positive results. Over 70 MPs have signed Early Day Motion 112 on Gaza , which was only tabled on 4 December. At PSC’s evening meeting following the lobby of parliament on 19 November, MPs from across all parties spoke of the need to end the siege and for justice. Lord Ahmed had just returned from leading a European parliamentary delegation to Gaza , and Lauren Booth opened the meeting by talking about her experience of travelling on the first boat to break the siege. Ramy Abdu, a student from Gaza , told of his despair when talking to his wife, who was not able to get a permit to leave Gaza , and hearing that she had no fuel to cook food for herself and their young child. The urgency of international action to end the siege is impossible to ignore.
Please order the new postcard !
A postcard is being produced for the new year, telling MPs that 'while Palestinians starve in Gaza ... Israel sells food from stolen Palestinian land in your supermarket'. We want to send a clear and unmistakable message to MPs that the siege on Gaza must end, and the sale of settlement goods must stop. Please help us by ensuring that friends, family and supporters also send these postcards to their MPs - for further details please contact the PSC office.
· Check whether your MP has signed the EDMs – if so, please write and thank them – if not, please write to ask them to do so. For the latest list of MPs signing up:
There will be a further EDM tabled on settlement goods – please urge your MP to also sign up to this.