New co-chairs of UK Parliament Palestine group urge settlement goods boycott

Palestinian protesters with flags, some mask-clad due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, confront Israeli soldiers during a demonstration against Jewish settlements in the town of Asira Shamaliya in the occupied West Bank near Nablus on October 9, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 27 October 2020

New co-chairs of UK Parliament Palestine group urge settlement goods boycott

  • Julie Elliot: ‘It’s time that the British government stood up for international law’
  • Baroness Sayeeda Warsi: ‘Palestinian rights must be continually raised in the UK Parliament’

LONDON: The two new co-chairs of the Britain-Palestine All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) have urged the UK government to “stand up for international law” by banning all imports from illegal Israeli settlements.

Julie Elliot, a member of the UK’s main opposition Labour Party and one of the two new co-chairs, also said Britain should recognize Palestine as a state.

In a message released online to mark her election to the APPG, she said: “It’s time that the British government stood up for international law, sought action against products from the settlements — ban them in this country — and also move towards helping to end the blockade on Gaza, which has brought such dreadful, dreadful suffering to the people of Gaza.” She added: “It’s time for the British government to recognize Palestine. The time is now.”

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, the other new co-chair and former co-chair of the governing Conservative Party, said: “Palestinian rights must be continually raised in the UK Parliament. It’s vital that we continue to pressure the UK government to act to end the occupation and to stand up for international law.” 

APPGs are groups in UK politics convened across party lines that meet to discuss, campaign on and promote a certain issue. They are often effective parts of wider parliamentary campaigns.

Chris Doyle, director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding, welcomed the election of Elliot and Warsi as the APPG’s new co-chairs. 

“They’re two politicians who understand the Palestinian issue, and it’s really important to push things, as they both have, such as British recognition of a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines with Jerusalem as its capital,” he told Arab News.

“The Palestine APPG is one of the best supported in Parliament — that’s a sign of the interest in the issue.”

But Doyle said they may have their work cut out in getting their message on Palestine across. “The challenge right now is to give airtime to any issue that isn’t COVID-19 or the American elections,” he added.

“The conflict issues in the Middle East are starved of the sort of attention they need because of the pandemic.”


Turkey, Russia seal deal for Karabakh ‘peacekeeping center’

Updated 29 min 27 sec ago

Turkey, Russia seal deal for Karabakh ‘peacekeeping center’

  • The deal comes after days of talks between Turkish and Russian officials about how the two regional powers would jointly implement a Moscow-brokered cease-fire
  • Technical details for setting up the joint center were concluded and an agreement was signed

ANKARA: Turkey and Russia have agreed to monitor a truce over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region from a joint peacekeeping center, Ankara’s defense ministry said on Tuesday.
The deal comes after days of talks between Turkish and Russian officials about how the two regional powers would jointly implement a Moscow-brokered cease-fire signed this month between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Technical details for setting up the joint center were concluded and an agreement was signed, the defense ministry said in a statement, adding that it would begin work “as soon as possible.”
Turkey is a staunch ally of Azerbaijan and has fervently defended its right to take back the Nagorno-Karabakh lands Baku lost to ethnic Armenian separatists in a 1988-94 war.
The truce deal ended more than six weeks of fighting that claimed more than 1,400 lives and saw ethnic Armenians agree to withdraw from large parts of the contested region of Azerbaijan.
The Turkish parliament voted this month to deploy a mission to “establish a joint center with Russia and to carry out the center’s activities.”
The deployment is set to last a year and its size will be determined by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Russia has said repeatedly that Turkey will have no troops on the ground under the truce deal’s terms.