I have been in the West Bank and East Jerusalem on a delegation organised by the Council for Arab-British Understanding (Caabu) and Medical Aid for Palestinians, alongside other Labour MPs.
It has been a busy and informative trip, learning about the extensive discrimination faced by Palestinians and the importance of ending the occupation so that Palestinians and Israelis can enjoy security, dignity, and human rights.
It was a humbling experience meeting the family of Shireen Abu Aqla, the Al-Jazeera journalist who was killed earlier this month. Anton, Shireen’s brother, handed us a letter demanding international backing for an independent inquiry into Shireen’s killing and accountability for her death.
We also met staff at the Saraya community centre in the Old Town and the long established residents of the Sheikh Jarrah district of East Jerusalem to hear about settler violence and evictions.
Day 2 started with a visit to a Bedouin village in the E1 area of the West Bank which relies on a weekly mobile medical centre from Medical Aid for Palestinians. The portacabin used for medical appointments, part funded by the British Consulate General in Jerusalem and other international donors, had a demolition notice on it.
We later visited Beita, near Nablus, with the Palestine Red Crescent Society to hear about attacks on Palestinians protesting against illegal settlement outposts, and we also heard testimony from two terrified families in Burin whose homes had been subjected to settler violence.
We finished the day with an excellent discussion with Meretz MK Mossi Raz about the future of peace.
On Day 3, I had the pleasure of meeting Dr Amal Jadou, Palestinian Deputy Foreign Minister in Ramallah. We learned more about the Palestinian Authority’s vision for the future and the challenges it faces in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
On a busy final day, we saw the impact of the fence on the community of Al Walaja, visited Al Arroub refugee camp to hear of the excellent work done by the UN Relief and Works Agency, and then heard testimonies in Hebron from former IDF soldiers now part of Breaking the Silence.