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Britain will be judged by history for its failure to support the Palestinian people

March 29, 2016, midnight

“For how long will the UK Government continue to exonerate itself from its political and moral responsibilities towards the Palestinians by using a language couched in ambiguity and slick diplomacy? Such a position will not give the UK credibility in its claim to support a two-state solution”. Manuel Hassassian

Today the United Nations Human Rights Council voted on four key issues in support of the Palestinian people’s continued struggle for justice and peace.

The four resolutions focused on self-determination, human rights, the accountability of Israel for its violations of international law and its continued building of settlements on Palestinian land. The resolution on settlements also proposed setting up a database of all businesses working in or with illegal Israeli settlements.

The Palestinian Mission in the UK has no choice but to express its deep disappointment with the way the UK voted today in not giving its support to the Human Rights Council resolutions.

The UK Government has encouraged and espoused the Palestinians in their determination to use international law and other peaceful means to further support their rights. But when it came to the acid test, this support was just not there and the UK Government failed to uphold its obligations to the Palestinian people and did not vote in favour of the resolutions.

This was all the more regrettable as the vote was an ideal opportunity for the UK, along with fellow EU member states and the rest of the international community, to hold Israel accountable for its continued violation of Palestinian human rights and for its runaway settlement building project on expropriated Palestinian land. Only in this past week, Israel announced two more land grabs in Hebron and Jericho.

How long will the UK Government continue to shirk its moral responsibilities to do the right thing by the Palestinians instead of standing ineffectually on the side-lines? Assertive support for these resolutions and a positive vote could have been a chance to salvage any remaining prospects for establishing a two-state solution.

The consequences of this continued inability or unwillingness to proactively support Palestinian human rights and self-determination will create more suffering and more despair for a people who have already have had to bear so much. Not only this, the UK Government will be judged by history for its continued failure to play a major role in the cause of justice and peace.

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