The Ambassador at the Labour Party ConferenceSept. 29, 2016, midnight
Ambassador Hassassian has just arrived back in London after three busy days in Liverpool at the Labour Party Conference.
Labour Friends of Palestine Annual Reception
Sharing the platform with Jeremy Corbyn, he spoke at the Labour Friends of Palestine Annual Reception on Monday about Labour’s steadfast support for Palestinian rights. He praised the long and principled activism of the Jeremy Corbyn for the Palestinian cause and the fact that the Labour Party had unequivocally recognized Palestine. He also, emphasised the close ties between Fatah and the Labour Party.
H.E. Hassassian spoke, at length, about the increasing impossibility of a two state solution due to Israel’s expansionist policies. He talked passionately about the record numbers of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails, many of whom have been detained without charge or trial. Finally, the Ambassador reminded the packed hall that the coming year was a very significant one for Palestine as it will mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration which was instrumental in the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians from their homeland.
The New Statesman and PSC Fringe Meeting
His Excellency Hassassian was invited to The New Statesman and PSC Fringe meeting, also on Monday. He gave an informative and moving speech about the relentlessly expansion of illegal Israeli settlements, their history, their current numbers and how they geographically fragment the occupied Palestinian West Bank. He spoke of the illegality of settlement produce under international law and the importance of the boycott of settlement goods. The Ambassador asked, ‘how could the Netanyahu government be serious about peace when it is expropriating more Palestinian land for its settlement projects?’ He challenged the Israeli government to simply state what its borders are.
The Ambassador closed by questioning the current British government’s intention to mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration and their stated pride in creating the state of Israel. ‘Palestinians could not and would not accept this’, he said and was, at least, comforted that the Labour Party was more supportive and conciliatory on this front.
The Arab Ambassadors Annual Reception
The Arab Ambassador’s reception at the conference, provided a podium for Ambassador Hassassian to acknowledge the valuable support of al the Arab Ambassadors and, particularly, he thanked the Dean for always giving him a forum to raise the Palestinian cause. He also thanked the many MPs present for their support and regretted the fact that the Leader of the Labour Party could not attend. To a 250 strong audience, H.E. Hassassian spoke at length of Israel’s continuing brutal occupation and the importance of challenging the Conservative government in its plans to mark the one hundred year anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.