Stephen Kinnock compares sale of Israeli settlement goods to 'profiting from proceeds of crime'

Labour MP made remarks during Commons debate on Israel and the Palestinians


Labour’s Stephen Kinnock has suggested the sale in this country of products from Israeli settlements “is tantamount to profiting from the proceeds of crime and it must stop.”

Speaking during a House of Commons debate on settlement and annexation in “occupied Palestinian territories”, the MP for Aberavon said the UK government should ban items produced by Israeli settlers in the West Bank.

He said: “Profiting from these products is tantamount to profiting from the proceeds of crime and it must stop.

“When we trade with these settlements we are essentially telling the world that international law does not matter and such trade legitimises and facilitates the existence and expansion of the settlements.

“In 2014, it was right that the UK as part of the European Union prohibited trade with Crimea following its illegal annexation by Russia. It is crucial that we are consistent in our application of international law.”

Mr Kinnock also criticised what he said was Israel’s “constant flouting of UN resolutions and the fourth Geneva convention [that] have undermined the rules-based order for decades and the international community can no longer just look the other way.”

But he conceded: “Both sides in this conflict have witnessed horrific bloodshed and both sides deserve an end to the fear and suffering they have had to experience.”

Earlier, as the out-going chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Palestine, Mr Kinnock said the parliamentary debate was not about religion, being pro-Israeli or pro-Palestinian, but about "striving for peace, security and justice for all."

He said those taking part in the debate condemned violence in all its forms - whether by Hamas or the IDF.

Mr Kinnock said "we should be realistic" about recent peace deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates - suggesting the two states had never in fact been enemies.

Speaking in the same debate, Middle East minister James Cleverly said the British government  has encouraged the Palestinian Authority to “engage” with Israel and the United States and to present its own proposal for peace in the Middle East.

Mr Cleverly also told the Commons that he believed President Trump has shown himself to be someone who “likes to make a deal”.

Speaking about the changing landscape in the region and the opportunity this now presented to the Palestinian leaders, Mr Cleverly said: ”A thriving Israel next door to a thriving Palestine based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, Jerusalem as a shared capital of both states, with fair, agreed and realistic settlements for refugees and we continue to believe a two-state solution is the only viable long-term solution for the area.”

The Foreign Office minister repeated the UK government’s wish for a negotiated two-state solution to the conflict.

He added: “There is an opportunity now and we have encouraged the Palestine Authority to engage with Israel and the United States, with its Arab neighbours and friends, with the UK to put an offer, a counteroffer on the table.

“We know that President Trump is someone that likes to make a deal and we strongly, strongly urge our friends in the region to take him up.”

Labour’s Andy Slaughter – a long-term critic of Israel – said he did not see how the recent deal with the United Arab Emirates had advanced the cause of the Palestinians.

He claimed: “This is something of a distraction in terms of what has happened on the ground. Look at the situation in Gaza at the moment – as far as the international community is concerned that is still under occupation.”

Labour’s Naz Shah said that the Palestinians had been “abandoned” and “ignored” for over a century and said “there is nothing normal about occupation.”

She said Palestinians had been living under “their own lockdown for many decades.”

Ms Shah said “peace can only come when sworn enemies are seated around the table.” She claimed Israel’s deals with the UAE and Bahrain were “detrimental” to the Palestinians.

The Tory MP Christian Wakeford said that Israel had withdrawn from Gaza in 2005 and yet Hamas had turned the region into a “launch pad for terrorism.”

He added that many of Judaism’s most holy sites were actually located in regions such as the West Bank, and that Jews had been “driven out or killed” from areas such as East Jerusalem in the past.

“The implication of Jews praying at their most holiest sites and doing so illegally is deeply troubled to me and the Jewish community,” he said.





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