FCO Reply to Postcards for Palestine Campaign

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has issued a reply to our Postcards for Palestine Campaign, which is appended in full below.

Reflecting on the FCO’s response, the Israel-Palestine Subcommittee would note that while the Government’s position appears very strong, there is no evidence that their position has had any meaningful effect to uphold the rights of the Palestinian people. It is beyond understanding that human rights can be so blatantly denied, and that nothing further, apparently, can be done in the way of international pressure.

To quote the FCO’s letter:

“We have regular dialogue with the Government of Israel with regard to the implementation of their obligations under international law, and regularly and robustly raise our serious concerns on issues relating to Israeli actions in the [Occupied Palestinian Territories].”

Dialogue is welcome and necessary, but some serious action is needed. The situation is not so complex that a solution is obscure. Put simply, there is an oppressor, and despite many attempts at peace talks, nothing has substantially changed. In fact, as the FCO admits, in spite of rulings from the international community and from Israel’s own court system, Israeli demolitions and wall construction has accelerated. The FCO expresses “concern” over demolitions, but again, it does not advance any action beyond “raising concern” with Israeli authorities.

The FCO also extends support for a two-state solution.We did not propose a two-state solution in our campaign, and while this may well be a way of supporting the rights of Palestinians in the region, our present interest is with the State of Israel’s responsibility to advocate for everyone within their current borders, regardless of their race, culture, or creed. It is very possible, even likely, given the current positions of the Israeli government, that the rights of Arab Christians and Muslims living in Israel would remain tenuous if Israel’s borders were changed. If the principles behind a two-state solution are not carefully assessed, this may also give tacit support to the exclusion walls which have divided Palestinian communities and families, including the Christian community in Cremisan.

We are grateful to the FCO and to Her Majesty’s Government for their support in holding Israel to account, and for their funding of key humanitarian and advocacy groups in the region. But as the horizon of the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Agreement dawns, we must also hold ourselves to account for our own complicity, and our ultimate failure to prevent the rights of Palestinians from being upheld.

The FCO letter is available to download here.