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Int. Development Committee Report on Palestine


Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding

CAABU Welcomes International Development Committee Report on Palestine

CAABU welcomed today the report by the International Development Select Committee into the Humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Territories of the West Bank and Gaza. Entitled "Development Assistance and the Occupied Palestinian Territories" it has made some very important key points and recommendations.

The report states "The fact is that Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank have no state, neither de jure, nor de facto; no citizenship; no rights; no remedies, and no one from the international community taking the responsibility to seek to ensure that an occupied people in these circumstances are treated as humanely as possible".

It also states that "The appalling situation in the OPT (Occupied Palestinian Territories) is not the result of a natural disaster; it is man-made and as such it requires a political solution."

CAABU welcomes the call by the report for "the UK Government to propose to the EU Council of Trade Ministers that Israel's preferential terms of trade with the EU be suspended until it lifts the movement restrictions which it has placed on Palestinian trade". CAABU also believes there is also groundsto suspend this agreement in line with Article two, which requires Israel to abide by Human Rights standards.

Lord Redesdale, CAABU Executive member, welcomed the report adding that "we now must hope that the Government of Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the British Government act on its conclusions to help alleviate the suffering of the Palestinians"

Chris Doyle, CAABU Director said "The humanitarian crisis has been largely engineered by the Israeli policies in the Occupied Territories. They must bear responsibility. The British Government must also bear its responsibilities and do all it can to pressure Israel into ending its repressive policies and this must include, as the report recommends, suspending the EU-Israel Trade Association Agreement"

He added "This report comes in a long line of report by International governments, the UN, international aid agencies and human rights groups all reaching similar conclusions."

The main points in the report are:

* Israel's security policies have "stopped any semblance of normal life for Palestinians"

* Urge the UK government to make the EU suspend the EU Preferential Trade Agreement with Israel.

* "The Palestinian economy has all but collapsed"

* Malnutrition rates are "as bad as anywhere one would find in sub-Saharan Africa"

* "Unemployment rates are in the region of 60-70%"

* According to the World Bank, easing of Israeli controls would see a 21% increase in GDP

* The 'Wall' and settlement activity is damaging the viability of a future Palestinian state

* Checkpoints: "Palestinians often suffer harassment at the hands of both the IDF and the local settlers"

* Suicide bombings are "morally abhorrent" and "a catastrophic tactic"

* All aid to PA must be "fully and transparently accounted for"

* An end to donor funding to PA would "push more Palestinians below the poverty line" and "have a detrimental effect on the peace process"

* All actors must "avoid Anti-Semitism and Anti-Islamism, as well as stereotyping Arab and Jewish societies"

The conclusion can be read at: < http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200304/cmselect/cmintdev/230/23011.htm

The conclusions and recommendations can be read at: < http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200304/cmselect/cmintdev/230/23012.htm

The full report can be downloaded from the Parliamentary website at : < http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200304/cmselect/cmintdev/230/230.pdf

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