Effect of Israeli Demolitions On Palestinian Communities And The Peace Process

Effect_Of_Israeli_Demolitions_On_Palestinian_Settlements_WH_06122017_006.png

I secured a Westminster Hall debate on the effect of Israeli demolitions on Palestinian communities and the peace process. You can read my speech below.

Stephen Kinnock: I beg to move,

That this House has considered the effect of Israeli demolitions on Palestinian communities.

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Pritchard. Before beginning the debate in earnest, I will make clear a couple of things, which I hope will ensure that this and subsequent debates can proceed in a constructive manner.

First, nothing that I or, I hope, others will say is about religion or ethnicity. This is not an issue of Arab, Muslim or Jewish people. It is about upholding our basic values of justice and human rights, and it is about holding to account those states, Governments and duty bearers that violate those principles and laws. While the debate will, of course, discuss Israeli Government policies, with regard to the demolitions, this is not about being pro-Israel or pro-Palestine; it is about being pro-justice and pro-human rights. At a time when there seems to be a growing number of countries facing conflict, upheaval and political uncertainty, it is not a question of which is more important to talk about—they are all important.

Palestine has been in a perpetual—some would say declining—state of all of the above for more than 50 years. Indeed, the Israel-Palestine conflict is one of the most protracted in the world.


Nick Thomas-Symonds (Torfaen) (Lab): I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing the debate. On the issue of decline, does he agree that, in the three years since that particular aspect of the conflict ended, conditions are actually getting worse in the Gaza strip? Many constituents have contacted me about that declining humanitarian situation. We need to redouble our efforts internationally to tackle it.


Stephen Kinnock: I agree, and I point to a recent UN report, which declared that Gaza will be “unliveable” by 2020 due to the degrading infrastructure there, which is degrading for reasons that we know well. My hon. Friend is absolutely right on that point.


Mrs Louise Ellman (Liverpool, Riverside) (Lab/Co-op): My hon. Friend is very generous in giving way. On the comments he has just made, does he accept that Hamas recently rebuilding the terrorist tunnels can regrettably only make the prospect of peace recede even more?


Stephen Kinnock: I agree that fault can be allocated on all sides of this conflict. The point I make—I hope to illustrate it further during my speech—is that Israel holds the whip hand in this situation; it is in its gift to make some progress and move forward. It is important to see the balance of the relationship in that context.


Mr Jim Cunningham (Coventry South) (Lab): Does my hon. Friend think that the encroachment on Palestinian lands, the demolitions and the sanctions on the Palestinians are leading to a situation in which a two-state solution may not be viable anymore?


Stephen Kinnock: I personally remain absolutely committed to the two-state solution, but I recognise, as I will set out in my speech, that there has been a 600% increase in settlements in the illegally occupied territories in the west bank. It becomes increasingly difficult to see how a two-state solution could work with that level of occupation taking place.


Jonathan Edwards (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr) (PC): I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on securing the debate and on his considered comments. Does this not underline the importance of people in positions of influence taking a measured response? The comments that the President of the United States will make later this afternoon, in which he will recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, are therefore highly regrettable and highly dangerous.


Stephen Kinnock: The hon. Gentleman may well have seen a draft of my speech, because I was about to come on to that very point. The expected announcement later today by the President of the United States on recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has sent shockwaves across the world. If that announcement happens, it may well be the death knell for any prospective peace process. However, I will talk a bit more about the changing facts on the ground, and what that means for peace, in a while.

The second point I make on the framing of the debate is that I want to be as clear as possible that I am deeply ashamed of the fact that, due to the actions, views and behaviour of a minority of persons in my party, a perception has grown that Labour has a problem with anti-Semitism. I have no truck whatsoever with anyone who expresses or excuses anti-Semitic views, and any member of the Labour party—or any party, for that matter—who does should be expelled as fast as possible. That applies whoever they are, be they the former Mayor of one of the great cities of the world, someone who has just delivered some leaflets or an otherwise inactive member. If they are an anti-Semite, or a defender or excuser of anti-Semites, they are not welcome in our party. They never have been and they never will be.


Mrs Ellman: My hon. Friend is very generous in giving way again. In relation to his comments, how does he view the statements from Labour members who claim that allegations of anti-Semitism are simply smears against the leader of the Labour party?


Stephen Kinnock: We need to remain absolutely clear that anything that looks to defend, excuse or promote anything that could be remotely perceived as anti-Semitism must be treated as grounds for expulsion from the party. We need to hold very true to that principle.


Dr Philippa Whitford (Central Ayrshire) (SNP): On that point, it has to be recognised that the people of Israel would gain from a solution and peace and from not having to expend so much energy, and the energy of their young people, on security. They need to be able to move forward. This is not only about a solution for the people of Palestine; it is also about a solution for the people of Israel.


Stephen Kinnock: The hon. Lady is absolutely right. There can be no peace without security and there can be no security without peace. That rule applies universally. With that in mind, I hope that we can have a constructive debate, finding common ground and advancing the cause of peace, justice and security for the peoples of both Israel and Palestine.

Next year will mark 25 years since the signing of the Oslo accords. That moment was meant to represent a turning point, heralding a new and lasting era of peace and co-existence; the beginning of a genuine and complete two-state solution. However, what has a Palestinian approaching his or her 25th birthday today actually seen? An increase in the number of illegal settlers, from 258,000 to more than 600,000, despite countless international rulings that the settlements violate international law. The Oslo generation have seen nothing but the increasing fragmentation and annexation of their land.


Lisa Nandy (Wigan) (Lab): I am struck by what my hon. Friend says about the situation of children and young people; it is something I saw for myself when I visited the west bank. According to the Norwegian Refugee Council, there are 55 educational facilities in area C of the west bank with outstanding demolition orders against them. Will he join me in sending a strong message to the Israeli Government that demolishing schools is completely unacceptable and is counter to any effort to achieve peace in the region?


Stephen Kinnock: I add to my hon. Friend’s point that we in the international community have for many years been telling the people of Palestine that, with politics and constructive engagement, a solution will be found. What hope do we give to those young people in those educational establishments if that seems to not be happening?


Paul Blomfield (Sheffield Central) (Lab): Will my hon. Friend give way?


Stephen Kinnock: I will just make a little more progress and then I will give way.

The Oslo generation have also seen 50,000 homes and properties demolished, often resulting in the forced displacement of families and entire communities, and the construction of an illegal separation barrier, which carves up the west bank and brutally disconnects towns, cities, families and communities from each other. They have also seen, for the first time in history, the separation of the historic cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem.


Matt Rodda (Reading East) (Lab): On Jerusalem and the unfortunate and misguided announcement from the US President, will my hon. Friend comment on the restatement of British policy at Prime Minister’s Question Time today that Jerusalem should not be dealt with in the way the US President suggests?


Stephen Kinnock: I thank my hon Friend. I very much welcome the Prime Minister’s comments at Prime Minister’s questions. That was a very important restatement of very important principles. Let us just hope that she may be able to have some form of constructive conversation with the President of the United States about that, although having a constructive conversation with that particular gentleman seems to be a difficult thing to do.

Jerusalem, the city of three faiths, is under constant threat as a political pawn. There is the separation of the west bank and Gaza, with a 2 million population trapped in the tiny Gaza strip, in what some have called the world’s largest open-air prison, thanks to the land, sea and air blockade of Gaza. One third of the 2 million people crammed into Gaza’s 139 square miles are under 15, and almost half are under 25. A 10-year-old child will already have lived through three major wars. That is no way to grow up. In short, any young person born at the time of the Oslo accords has seen only diminishing rights and freedoms, less security and a fragmented territory that pushes the possibility of a two-state solution even further away.


Paula Sherriff (Dewsbury) (Lab): I draw attention to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. I visited Susiya on a delegation with Caabu—the Council for Arab-British understanding—in 2015 and heard at first hand how people living there were terrified of the threat of demolition. Does my hon. Friend agree that we need to redouble and intensify our efforts to stop the demolitions?


Stephen Kinnock: I thank my hon. Friend. I, too, have visited Susiya, and it is a moving experience, particularly when we see what needs to be done to avoid the risk of creating a construction that could be considered as a target for demolition. Buildings are built with tyres, for example, to avoid that position.


Paul Blomfield: I thank my hon. Friend for the way he framed the debate. Just over three weeks ago, I was in the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar and took time out to see the school there. That school, built with the support of the international community and the village, faces demolition, apparently to make way for further illegal settlements, and apparently the Israelis are upping the preparations for that demolition to happen within the next few weeks. Does my hon. Friend agree that the Minister, whom I understand has also visited the village, should in his response commit to redoubling the Government’s efforts to prevent that demolition from happening?


Stephen Kinnock: I thank my hon. Friend. In my speech, I will talk about the other communities under threat of demolition. I very much look forward to hearing the Minister’s response and hope that it will not just be rhetoric and that there will be some reality in there as well.


Ian C. Lucas (Wrexham) (Lab): One of the strengths of Israel is the independence of its rule of law and the way in which the courts fearlessly impose decisions on occasions, but what is particularly tragic about the schools that are being threatened with demolition—I have seen them myself, as many other people have—is that they are in the shadow of illegal settlements. The contradiction and imbalance that exists does not help Israel and the perception of Israel in the rest of the world.


Stephen Kinnock: I thank my hon. Friend. The juxtaposition of the young people in those communities seeking to get an education with, right on their doorstep, those illegal settlements is a metaphor for the terribly challenging situation in which we find ourselves.


Ian Austin (Dudley North) (Lab): A moment ago, my hon. Friend was talking about Gaza. Is it not the case that Israel signed an agreement on movement and access in relation to Gaza with the Palestinian Authority; gave the Palestinians control over the borders for the first time in history; allowed imports and exports; planned for the construction of a sea port and an airport; and pulled out of Gaza and removed the settlers? But Hamas took over; expelled Fatah; murdered rival Palestinians; armed itself with hundreds of thousands of rockets aimed at Israel, which were provided by Iran; and dug tunnels to attack civilians on kibbutzes? That is what happened in Gaza. What responsibility does my hon. Friend ascribe to Hamas for the situation in Gaza, and how does he think it is possible to resolve it?


Stephen Kinnock: I agree that many of the things that my hon. Friend listed have taken place, but the fact remains that there has been a land, sea and air-based blockade of the Gaza strip throughout that entire period. Gaza is now described as the largest open-air prison in the world, and the UN has declared that it will be unliveable by 2020, so there is a humanitarian crisis that has to be resolved, and it is in the gift of the Israeli Government to take that forward.

I have described the harsh reality of the facts on the ground. I met the commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency yesterday, and his message to the international community was clear: conflict management is not enough, and we must do more to support an actual resolution to the conflict. I agree that we cannot continue with a wait-and-see approach. Where has that got us over the last 50 years, 25 years or the 10 years of the Gaza blockade? We are where we are because of choices that have been made—choices on both sides of the conflict. Foremost among them has been the active choice to continue the expansion of illegal settlements on Palestinian territory and the forcible transfer of Palestinian families and communities from their homes. Both those policies have created a coercive environment that seeks to undermine the ability of Palestinians to continue living where they are. They are at great risk of forcible transfer, which is a clear violation of the fourth Geneva convention.

Just over a month ago, a UN report found that Israel’s role as an occupying power in the Palestinian Territories has “crossed a red line into illegality”.

International law is clear. An occupying power cannot treat occupied territory as its own or make claims of sovereignty. Occupation must be temporary, and the power must act in good faith and in the best interests of the protected or occupied population. However—these are the findings of the UN and its special rapporteur—that has been the repeated pattern of behaviour of successive Israeli Governments over the 50 years of the occupation.

A central plank of the occupation and spread of settlements has been the demolitions. It is estimated that almost 50,000 Palestinian structures have been demolished since 1967, with 1,500 homes demolished in Rafah alone between 2000 and 2004. That is despite warnings in 1968 from Theodor Meron, later the president of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, that the demolitions, even on security grounds, broke international law and the fourth Geneva convention. Article 53 of that convention prohibits the destruction of private property by an occupying power, and it is unequivocal, so how do the Israeli Government respond? They respond not by denying the substance of the claims of demolition, but by claiming that Palestine is not a party to the Geneva convention because it is not a state. Astonishing! Stepping beyond the fact that the policies of the Israeli Government are the main obstacle to Palestinian statehood, that is an utterly specious argument, because a basic and fundamental principle of human rights law is that international human rights treaties apply in all areas in which a state exercises “effective control”, and the occupation clearly constitutes such control.


Dr Rupa Huq (Ealing Central and Acton) (Lab): My hon. Friend mentioned the UN report and international structures. Is he aware of the EU report from March of this year that condemns the fact that, over six months, €311,692-worth of EU aid structures have also been demolished? I think that last year it was 182 structures. These are meant to be for humanitarian projects. The EU has condemned the destruction of its structures, and eight countries are putting together an approach to recover the moneys. That is seen as a very blunt diplomatic move, but desperate times possibly call for desperate measures.


Stephen Kinnock: I thank my hon. Friend. We have talked about all sides losing out from what is happening on the ground, and clearly Israel is not doing itself any favours with the international community when it is destroying structures that have been built with European Union aid money.

Clearly, Palestine is treated as an exception to the laws to which I was referring. Currently, 46 Bedouin communities are at risk of forcible transfer in Area C of the west bank. Why? For the implementation of Israel’s controversial and outright illegal E1 plan, which would allow Israel to connect its mega-settlements from north to south, in effect splitting the west bank in two and cutting off Jerusalem from any further Palestinian state.

I visited one of the communities during my last visit to the region with Caabu. The residents of Khan al-Ahmar told us how they lived under constant fear and threat of forcible transfer, not knowing when the bulldozers might arrive and raze their homes and school to the ground. A huge campaign is under way in the occupied territories right now to protect the school—the only one for miles—from demolition. While we were there, we were told how the children’s swings in the playground were uprooted because they violated Israeli planning laws. According to reports, there are at present more than 50 schools in the west bank with demolition or stop-work orders.

In August, on the eve of the new school year, the Israeli authorities requisitioned nine education-related structures in Area C and demolished a newly established kindergarten in the Bedouin community of Jabal al-Baba.


Lilian Greenwood (Nottingham South) (Lab): My hon. Friend is making a powerful case for the importance of maintaining international humanitarian law. Does he share my concern that if these demolitions go ahead in the coming weeks, as we fear, it will be the middle of winter, potentially putting families and young children at great risk, as they could be without not just their schools and playgrounds but their homes, at a time when they will face incredible hardship and real destitution?


Stephen Kinnock: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. We are clearly in the midst of a potential humanitarian crisis, which may seem small-scale purely in terms of the number of children who use that school, but is potentially catastrophic for the lives of those children. We should appeal to the humanitarian instincts of all hon. Members today.


Tony Lloyd (Rochdale) (Lab): My hon. Friend is making a powerful case about the day-to-day disruption of the lives of ordinary Palestinians. Does he agree with this central point—that none of this can be justified by reference to Hamas or general references to the security situation? Everybody present for this debate must agree that security is fundamental for Israel, but it should not erode the day-to-day rights of Palestinian men, women and children.


Stephen Kinnock: I thank my hon. Friend. We know that there can be no peace without security and there can be no security without peace, and we have to find a way out of this vicious circle. I believe that it is in the gift of the Israeli Government to make the progress that is so desperately required.

It seems that nothing is off limits. During August and September 2017, the Israeli authorities demolished or seized a total of 63 Palestinian-owned structures, affecting over 1,200 people, all on the grounds of lack of Israeli-issued permits, which are nearly impossible to obtain. The Supreme Court of Israel, the role of which is to protect the rule of law, has, in a peak of irony, ruled that demolitions can be carried out without any right to appeal if the Israel defence forces judge that advance warning would hinder demolition action. Accordingly, the Israeli non-governmental organisation B’Tselem has said:

“It seems that Israel is so confident in its ability to expel entire villages without incurring judicial or international criticism that it is no longer bothering to create even the illusion of legal proceedings.”

Israel is often portrayed as a lonely beacon of democracy and pluralism in the middle east. Well, it is time the Israeli Government began to live up to that, because there is nothing democratic or pluralistic about demolishing homes, community infrastructure, schools and kindergartens, and there is certainly nothing democratic or pluralistic about denying due process and undermining the rule of law.


Dr Matthew Offord (Hendon) (Con): I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving way and I apologise for being late; I had a meeting with the Bahraini ambassador.

I was rather bemused by this debate, because although I know that the hon. Gentleman regularly speaks at the Centre for Turkey Studies, I have never heard him speak about Turkish settlers from the mainland in north Cyprus—200,000 people who invaded north Cyprus—yet he wants to talk about Israel. Should not he, and indeed some of his friends at the Centre for Turkey Studies, actually consider that?


Mark Pritchard (in the Chair): Order. This debate has been clearly advertised and it is about a particular subject, which the hon. Member has chosen to submit to Mr Speaker; Mr Speaker has seen fit that it should be selected for debate, and we will have a debate on this subject and this subject alone.


Stephen Kinnock: I thank the hon. Gentleman and would be delighted to discuss that at another time, following the ruling of our Chairman.

It is impossible to separate the demolitions from the illegal policy of annexation and settlements, because for settlements to be constructed, existing property or land has to be cleared. Because of these two interconnected policies, Israel is in violation of 40 UN Security Council resolutions and over 100 General Assembly resolutions. These violations harm not only the Palestinian people and the standing of Israel but all of us, by serving to undermine international law and prospects for peace. They are a scar on the conscience of the international community. The latest US move to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel supports this undermining of international law and validating of the illegal policies and practices of the Government of Israel.


Imran Hussain (Bradford East) (Lab): I thank the hon. Gentleman, who is making a very informed case. He is absolutely right that the illegal settlements and the demolition of Palestinian property are a major roadblock to peace in that region. As we have heard from hon. Members, the announcement by President Trump will have a devastating impact on the region and the process. Does the hon. Gentleman agree that we need a united response from the international community to condemn this move?


Stephen Kinnock: I certainly welcome the Prime Minister’s comments earlier today. I hope there can be cross-party support for restating the clear and long-held position of the British Government on this matter.

As we speak, a swathe of communities remain at risk of forcible transfer. Susiya, Khan al-Ahmar, Ain al-Hilweh, Um al-Jamal and Jabal al-Baba are under imminent threat—824 people, 464 under the age of 18, reside in these communities. Just a few days ago, 35 UK rabbis wrote to the Israeli ambassador regarding the impending demolitions in Susiya, to urge the Israeli Government to stop and think. Demolition, displacement and forced transfer in Susiya and other Palestinian communities in Area C would constitute a war crime under international law.

I am sure that all hon. Members here will wish to join me in urging the Israeli Government to think again and withdraw its threat to demolish and displace these communities; these are violations of international law that set back the cause of peace and security. I believe we must respond to these illegal acts of occupation, as we would have done to other such acts around the world. The UK and the European Council prohibited the trade import of all goods from Crimea after the Russian illegal occupation and annexation in 2014. We should follow that precedent when it comes to the illegal settlements. This is land that has been illegally seized and annexed. Palestinian property and homes have been destroyed and seized. Communities have been uprooted, displaced and destroyed. Therefore I see no way in which we cannot cease to trade with the illegal settlements. I categorically do not propose an end to trade with the state of Israel, of course, but let us be clear: the illegal settlements are not part of Israel proper; they are part of occupied Palestinian territory. How can we continue to support this illegal settlement enterprise? Surely that makes us complicit in illegal activities. Continued trade with illegal settlements creates an economic incentive for more illegal acts. It encourages the demolition of homes and communities to make way for settlements, simultaneously denying Palestinians access to economic opportunities.

Tamir Pardo, the former head of Mossad, has said that in that coercive environment, which is so insidious and dangerous,

“Israel faces one existential threat,”

and it is not external—Iran or Hezbollah—but rather “internal.” It is the result of a divisiveness in Israel, resulting from a Government that has decided to bury its head

“deep in the sand, to preoccupy ourselves with alternative facts and flee from reality”.

Those are the words of a former head of Mossad, who makes clear that the existential threat facing Israel is one of its own making, namely the occupation. As Pardo has gone on to argue, the blockade, the occupation, the demolitions and the aggressive annexation of Palestinian land are matters that we should all be concerned about, not because it is a pro-Israeli or pro-Palestinian position, but because they undermine peace, as well as the moral, political and legal fabric of Israel.


Ian Austin: How can my hon. Friend argue that the existential threat that Israel faces is one of its own making, when on day one, the day of Israel’s establishment in 1948, the country was invaded by five Arab armies, when the Palestine Liberation Organisation and Hamas have been dedicated to Israel’s destruction for the past 70 years, when Iran is committed to wiping Israel off the map of the earth and is arming Hezbollah and Hamas with rockets to do that?


Stephen Kinnock: I thank my hon. Friend for that question. I remind him that I am quoting Tamir Pardo, the former head of Mossad, who has named that as the existential threat.


Ian Austin: That is not what you think, but you are quoting it.


Stephen Kinnock: I agree with Mr Pardo—


Mark Pritchard (in the Chair: Order.


Afzal Khan (Manchester, Gorton) (Lab): May I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this debate and thank him for making such powerful points? In December 2017, a Palestinian reflecting on the 100 years since the Balfour declaration will find that only half the deal has been done and that the Palestinians have got nothing. There have been millions of refugees over a period longer than any other relating to refugees all over the world. Palestinians cannot access their land because it has been taken systematically and there have been demolitions and planning restrictions On top of that, Donald Trump has declared, illegally, that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. The situation for Palestinians must be awful and dark. What hope do they really have?


Stephen Kinnock: I agree that the situation looks bleak. The question is: how can we ensure that the next generations of young Israelis and Palestinians see any merit in supporting the rule of law and democracy and believe in peace with the other side? With the wall, the demolitions, the continuing land grab, the forced displacement and the isolation of Gaza, both sides seem to be further away from peace and security than ever before.

In my opening remarks I mentioned that this year is the 25th anniversary of Oslo, but there is another anniversary that we must recall, which is that 2017 marks the centenary of the Balfour declaration. One hundred years on from Balfour, I urge every hon. Member of this House to recall the particular responsibility that our country bears for what has come to pass. With that in mind, I would implore us all to revisit the historic significance of the declaration’s words, which acclaimed that

“the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people...it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”


Ruth Cadbury (Brentford and Isleworth) (Lab): Does my hon. Friend agree that the comments of Economy Minister Naftali Bennett a few months ago that they “returned” to the west bank

“in order to stay forever, without conceding land and without foreign sovereignty”

are at variance with the Balfour declaration?


Stephen Kinnock: I think that a number of statements from senior Israeli Government officials are not helping and are not making a constructive contribution to the peace and security that we want to see for both Israel and Palestine.

My contention is twofold. First, not only are the Israeli Government failing to uphold the principles and stated aims of the Balfour declaration; they are actively undermining them on an almost daily basis. Secondly, our Government are utterly failing to live up to the responsibilities bequeathed on them by Balfour. Therefore we must, working in partnership with our international allies, deploy every diplomatic and commercial tool at our disposal to put pressure on the Israeli Government.

It is 100 years since Balfour, 50 years since the beginning of the illegal occupation and 25 years since Oslo. There have been moments along the way when it looked like things might change and that negotiations might forge a path to peace. Tragically, those moments proved to be false dawns. Rather than be disheartened, we should learn from those experiences and mistakes, rather than continue to do the same thing expecting different results. Just recently, Tony Blair admitted that our policy of isolation and disengagement with Hamas in Gaza was wrong. We should embrace that view and actively look for ways to support the present reconciliation efforts between Fatah and Hamas.

Another lesson to learn is that condemnation alone is not enough. What has decades of condemning illegal settlement expansion led to? A mushrooming of settlements across the Palestinian territory and 600,000 illegal settlers. We have to disincentivise the settlement enterprise and put a cost on the violation of international law. We in this House can no longer stand by and do nothing. We, as international actors, have a duty to act, and part of that is holding duty bearers to account, whether it is the PA, Hamas or Israel as the occupying power.

Generations of Palestinians have grown up with diminishing rights and freedoms, so how can we expect them to have faith in conventional politics, believe in the rule of law and continue to hope for peace? Let us not forget that beyond the statistics and legal arguments, these are ordinary communities and families who have the same basic aspirations that we do: to live in safety and security, to protect their families and loved ones and to enjoy their basic rights, whether in education or economic opportunity. But we will also see the continued pollution of the Israeli body politic by divisive figures and ideas with no interest in peace, unless we speak up for, and assert, norms of internal and international decency and justice. Otherwise, injustice, on both sides of this conflict, will escalate and spiral out of control. So let us stand and speak up today, and let us make our voice heard.