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Britain must act to stop Israel annexing the West Bank, activists warn

SOCIALISTS cannot “stand idly by” and let Israel annex the West Bank like it annexed East Jerusalem in 1980, Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s Hugh Lanning told activists at the weekend.

A meeting hosted jointly by Labour left festival groups Arise and Labour & Palestine called for action to prevent the annexation or to ensure Israel faces serious consequences if it goes ahead.

Unite’s Adrian Weir, who is a London representative on Labour’s national policy forum, said Labour members have until tomorrow to make submissions on the issue on the forum’s website.

He warned current policy documents contain “little or no reference to conference decisions or manifesto pledges” made by the party, warning that members could be “robbed” of positive policy such as Labour’s commitment, made under Jeremy Corbyn, to recognise a Palestinian state.

Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy did call on Saturday for Britain to ban imports from annexed parts of the West Bank if Israel goes ahead.

But Palestinian ambassador to Britain Husam Zomlot said Israel was used to moving the goalposts on the Palestine question, and its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hoped a furore over the annexation plans would distract people from campaigning to end the occupation of Palestine outright.

His strategic aim was “to deliver the final blow to any hope of the two-state solution,” Mr Zomlot warned.

Palestinian academic Samia al-Botmeh said the annexation would be “devastating” for Palestinians already suffering from Israeli colonialism.

The West Bank was already criss-crossed by 700 miles of “apartheid roads” which Palestinians are banned from using even though they go through their territory, she said.

The National Education Union's Phillipa Harvey spoke about the importance of trade union delegations to Palestine and how Palestinian teacher trade unionists had told her of the importance of education as a weapon against colonialism.

The meeting also heard from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who said that Britain’s role as the imperial power which governed the mandate of Palestine after the first world war meant it had a special responsibility to act.

The meeting can be watched at mstar.link/PalestineMeeting.

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