Occupied Palestinian Territories

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:28 pm on 29th April 2004.

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Photo of Ann Clwyd Ann Clwyd Special Envoy to PM on Human Rights in Iraq 3:28 pm, 29th April 2004

Thank you, Mr. Chidgey. I was just in the process of turning off my mobile phone, which takes a little time.

I am a member not only of the International Development Committee but of the Inter-Parliamentary Union human rights commission, which finished its conference in Mexico last week. I congratulate the Chairman on the forceful way in which he put the case as found by the Committee. On this occasion, I was unable to accompany other members of the Committee on their trip, but I was in Jenin two years ago and I saw some of the destruction to which he referred.

I want to speak about some of the report's conclusions. The report says that

"we agree with the UK Government that the Geneva Conventions apply to the Israeli occupation. The 4th Geneva Convention should remain the standard by which the GOI"— the Government of Israel—"should perform" in the occupied Palestinian territories. It continues:

"The UK Government has its own obligations to uphold the Convention, and monitor breaches of the rules of the Convention as regards to the civilian population."

I cannot see much reference in "Country Assistance Plan for Palestinians" to the importance of international law, but I may have missed it. International law and Israel's adherence to it would greatly assist both the humanitarian situation and others in which the Palestinians find themselves. As one of the high contracting parties of the fourth Geneva convention, it is the British Government's responsibility to ensure that Israel meets its legal obligations as the occupying power to uphold the rights of the Palestinians.