Palestinians welcome UK Labour Party support for sanctions on Israel

Mohammed Ayesh

Middle East Eye  /  September 28, 2021

Abbas says Labour Party resolution a strong message to Israel.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday welcomed a vote by the British Labour Party backing sanctions on Israel and recognising that it has implemented an apartheid system.

The decision “is a strong message to the Israeli that the world no longer accepts the continuation of this occupation, and that it is moving towards adopting steps to contain, isolate and punish the occupation,” Palestinian news agency WAFA quoted Abbas as saying.

 “It is also a message of hope to the Palestinian people and a moral support for their rights, confirming that this occupation will eventually come to an end.”

The Labour conference backed a motion urging the party to back sanctions against Israel for its illegal actions under international law, to stop the UK’s arms trade with Israel, and end trade with illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian territory. 

Members of the Labour Party on Monday voted by a large majority in favour of a resolution condemning “the ongoing Nakba in Palestine, Israel’s militarised violence attacking al-Aqsa Mosque, the forced displacements from Sheikh Jarrah, and the deadly assault on Gaza”.

Palestinian ambassador to the UK, Husam Zomlot, also praised the resolution, describing it as historic, stressing that it had passed despite the tireless attempts made to disrupt the vote, shorten the debate and withdraw the draft resolution. 

“The truth has triumphed, and the party members voted with an overwhelming majority to consider Israel an apartheid state and to call for economic and military sanctions,” he wrote on Facebook, calling the vote victory for the martyrs, prisoners, and wounded and for the Palestinian struggle.

Shortly after the resolution passed, Labour’s shadow foreign minister Lisa Nandy repudiated the motion, telling the Jewish News that “we cannot support this motion”.

She condemned the pro-Palestine stance of the conference saying that “we owe it to the people of Palestine and Israel to take a fair and balanced approach that recognises there can only be peace through a safe and secure Israel existing alongside a sovereign and viable Palestinian state”.