Balfour Birthplace Declares: Israel is Apartheid State
Date: 30 September 2021
Time: 11:00 GMT
The United Kingdom’s Labour Party has voted in majority on Monday, 27 September 2021, The UK Labour Party passed a motion in their annual Brighton conference to define Israel as an apartheid state and proposed a ban on exporting weapons to Israel and ban cooperation with settlements established on Palestinian lands, and to recognize the State of Palestine. The motion condemned the Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), settler and military raids into the al-Aqsa Mosque, and the forced displacement of Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights welcomes the motion by the Labour Party, the second largest UK political party, and believes that it falls within the right course to correct the wrong committed with the Balfour Declaration, with which those who had no place to decide on Palestine gave the land to those who did not deserve it. PCHR asserts that this motion is a victory for justice, freedom, humanity, and human dignity; it is an acknowledgment of the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights. PCHR calls upon UK political parties, and the entire world, to adopt such resolutions that fall in-line with international law, United Nations Security Council resolutions, and contribute to international peace. It is a victory for the Palestinian people who have been suffering and struggling for more than seven decades.
The Labour Party’s motion coincided with commemoration of the 20th year anniversary of the 2001 World Conference against Racism (WCAR) organized under the auspices of the United Nations in Durban, South Africa, between August 31 and September 8, 2001. PCHR and other Palestinian organizations were active participants in the conference, particularly with parallel international events that were organized to impact the Conference outcomes.
PCHR Director, Lawyer Raji Sourani, gave the following comment on the motion:
“This motion comes 20 years after the Palestinian vision and the international community at the Durban Conference confirmed that Israel is an apartheid state that practices ethnic cleansing, endeavors to create a Jewish majority in the oPt, and commits war crimes, crimes against humanity, and persecution of civilians. The Israeli practices against Palestinian civilians are also attacks on the humanitarian and human rights institutions, it is against the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution, against international investigation commissions, the International Criminal Court, the Rome Statute, and the Principle of Universal Jurisdiction. Were it not for the impunity for Israeli crimes tailored by United States, certain European States like the UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, the Czech republic, and Hungary, the Israeli occupation’s leaders would have been tried in Courts or put behind bars.”
It is noteworthy that the Labour Party Leader’s team, Keir Starmer, stated that the motion did not become part of the Party’s policy, emphasizing that its position on peace through two-party negotiations remains, to achieve a sovereign Palestinian state, and the security of the State of Israel. PCHR condemns the obstinacy of the Party’s leadership and its disregard for the majority voice; PCHR emphasizes that the decision, nonetheless, has an exceptional value as it reflects the Party’s and a popular support for the Palestinians’ right to self-determination, and acknowledgement of Israeli as an apartheid state. PCHR believes that the count down has started to frame the Israeli occupation state under the correct framework, i.e. as an apartheid state.
The vote occurred during extraordinary times. On the one hand, the Israeli occupation has escalated its discriminatory practices against Palestinians in the oPt with its enhanced settlement expansion projects, demolition of Palestinian homes, targeting unarmed Palestinian civilians with live ammunition, and the forced displacement of civilians. On the other hand, a global movement against the occupation’s practices is maturing; Israel is bluntly accused of discriminating against Palestinians and establishing a new brand of apartheid in the oPt.
Additionally, the Liberal Democrats Party, the 3rd largest political party in the UK, has recently voted in its annual conference on 20 September 2021 to ban the import of settlement goods, and to allow Palestinians to enter the UK without visa.
Hereby, PCHR emphasizes that this motion is a victory for the movement, dignity, and suffering of the Palestinian people, and reflects the solidarity of peoples around the world with its just cause. PCHR expresses its hope that this will be the first step in resetting the international compass in the right direction, to serve justice, humanity, freedom, and international peace. Lastly, PCHR calls upon the world’s parliaments and political parties to take bolder steps to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory, and to end the continuous Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.