You know that things are serious when a parliamentary select committee puts out a call for sanctions against another sovereign state. Doubly so when that state is supposed to be one of Britain’s key allies in the Middle East. Yet today the House of Commons international development committee is calling on the Labour government to press for sanctions against Israel over its treatment of the Palestinian people. Things must be pretty bad.
Things are indeed bad, says the committee’s new report. As a result of Israeli occupation and the accompanying restrictions on movement, the Palestinian economy is in freefall. Fully 70% of Palestinians are now living in poverty, according to UN calculations, a figure which rises to 80% in Gaza. Over half of all Palestinians are now unable to cover their families’ daily food needs without relying on external aid – a scandal in such a rich and fertile land.
As a first step in putting pressure on the Israeli government to end this oppression, the UK should now urge its fellow members in the EU to consider suspending the EU-Israel association agreement, the cross-party committee says.