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The New Arab

UK Labour votes by landslide for pro-Palestine foreign policy

Delegates voted to stop arms sales to Israel at the 2018 conference [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 September, 2019

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Delegates at Labour's conference voted overwhelmingly for an 'ethical foreign policy' if the party gains power, privileging the Palestinian right of return and ending all trade with Israel.
The British Labour Party on Tuesday voted by a landslide in favour of a motion to end trade relations with Israel if it continues to flout international human rights laws. 

The historic resolution, introduced at its annual conference in Brighton this week, also affirms Labour's support for Palestinian refugees' right to return, laying the foundation for a foreign policy that takes Palestinian rights and statehood into serious regard if the party wins the next election.

Named "Ethical Foreign Policy", the motion was proposed by five different Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs), and would come into force only if, on winning the general election, the Labour party also passes the motion through the British parliament.

The motion cited recent US actions in Israel-Palestine, including recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital, cutting funding to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, and supporting the expansion of illegal settlements and their annexation as the motivation behind the bid to cut trade ties.

The motion also called US President Donald Trump's so-called "deal of the century" peace plan, "a one-sided attempt to impose an unjust outcome destroying Palestinian rights."

It vows to oppose any solution to the conflict that does not include the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, saying that Labour has a "special responsibility to redress the ongoing injustices against the Palestinian people" due to colonial Britain’s role in expelling 800,000 Palestinians from their land in 1948.

A motion passed at last year's conference pledged to end arms sales to Israel, however Monday’s proposal goes further, calling for the party to cease “any arms trade with Israel that is used in violation of the human rights of Palestinians.”

Ali Brownlie Bojang, a delegate from Hove CLP who read out the proposal said: “A Labour government’s solution should include self-determination and the right to return to their homes, protected by international law, and expressed in countless UN resolutions.”

She concluded: “As socialists, we stand always with the oppressed. Conference, I move: Free Palestine!”

Her speech was met with a standing ovation amid a sea of Palestinian flags and chants of ‘“Free Palestine”.

A general election is expected in the coming months amid deadlock over Brexit.

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