I am writing to you about the terrible violence which is currently engulfing Israel.
The brutal attacks on Israeli civilians are without justification and I would ask that you convey to the Israeli government that the British people stand with the people of Israel at this most difficult time.
I believe, however, that the British government has a role to play in helping to tackle the root causes of this current wave of terrorism.
For a number of years, Labour Friends of Israel has, during our visits to Israel and the Palestinian Territories, raised directly with the leadership of the Palestinian Authority the issue of incitement. While it is welcome that President Abbas is now attempting to help calm the situation, his previous statements alleging that Israel intends to alter the status quo with regard to access to the Temple Mount were both inflammatory and untrue. Sadly, this is but one example of the incitement which senior figures in the PA and its state-controlled media continue to perpetuate. I am particularly concerned about the numerous examples of children’s television programmes which contain blatantly anti-Semitic language and imagery. Given the age of a number of those who have committed the current acts of terrorism, I do not believe we can discount the impact of this kind of discourse on impressionable young minds. I would ask that the British government urgently inform the Palestinian Authority of our deep concern, and unwillingness to tolerate, this kind of encouragement to violence.
Such incitement feeds terrorism but it also makes much less likely the chances of coexistence and the compromises required to bring a lasting settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I would also urge you to use Britain’s influence, through our membership of the Security Council and the UN, to encourage a return to direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. LFI has long argued that, alongside the negotiation of a two-state solution based upon Israel within secure and recognised borders and an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian state, economic development in the West Bank is a key foundation upon which a lasting peace will be built. Given the role of the EU as a major donor to the PA, Britain must ensure that these funds are maximised to achieve this goal.