Westminster Hall Debate
Stephen Kinnock (Aberavon) (Lab): It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Hollobone. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Halifax (Holly Lynch) on securing the debate.
The report, much like the issue of Gaza, is about proportionality. Although its conclusions are 60% devoted to what Gaza endured, they are 40% devoted to what Israel endured. Yet those figures do not stack up. When we consider that 551 Palestinian children and one Israeli child died, we begin to see how massively the issue of proportionality figures not just in Operation Protective Edge but in the report. I am delighted that the British Government endorsed the report, but it does not reflect the proportionality of the situation.
Looking forward to how to rebuild Gaza, I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Batley and Spen (Jo Cox) that it is currently simply not working. It is pretty clear that Gaza is not going to be a viable place to live in. Why is the Department for International Development cutting its contribution to UNRWA by 17% in this budget year? UNRWA plays a critical role in the reconstruction of Gaza, so it seems a completely counterintuitive and counterproductive thing to do.
As to the broader issues around the future of the Israel-Palestine conflict, I had the pleasure of making a visit recently and it is clear to me that, with 700,000 settlers based illegally in the west bank, many of us would agree with President Obama, who said in June that the world no longer believes
“that Israel is serious about the two-state solution.”
Does the Minister believe that it is? Should we now start to look into the detail of the potential for a one-state solution? That is the elephant in the room.
The threat and application of EU sanctions proved very successful. What measures are we taking to ensure that they are applied fully and comprehensively to businesses that trade illegally in the west bank?