Towards a Lasting Peace in Israel and Palestine

This is the motion that was passed at the October Lib Dem Conference. It was moved by Layla Moran MP our Foreign Affairs spokesperson.

Conference believes wholeheartedly in the universal liberal principles of human rights, democracy, international law, and the self-determination of peoples.

Conference welcomes the role of Yair Lapid, leader of Liberal International partner Yesh Atid, in the formation of the new Israeli government and hopes that this moment of change may offer the chance of a fresh approach to the peace process.

Conference deeply regrets the deaths of Palestinian and Israeli civilians in the escalation in May 2021, unequivocally condemns all acts of indiscriminate violence, noting that there is no excuse for the targeting of civilians, especially children, and notes that the escalation was caused by long-term underlying tensions which must be addressed if a lasting peace rather than a short-term truce is to be achieved.

Conference notes the deteriorating human rights situation in Israel and Palestine as detailed in reports, notably those published by B’Tselem and Human Rights Watch detailing transgressions by the Israeli government.

Conference condemns all human rights abuses committed by Hamas in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, as outlined in reports including notably the 2018 Human Rights Watch publication Two Authorities, One Way, Zero Dissent.

Conference regrets that Hamas’s attitude to the conflict, including its rhetoric, its incitement and its refusal to recognise the state of Israel, is itself a significant barrier to peace.

Conference further regrets the position of the UK Prime Minister when he opposed the ICC investigation into alleged crimes committed in Palestine, noting that the ICC has jurisdiction given that Palestine, like the UK, is a signatory to the Rome Statute.

Conference affirms that given the 54 year old Israeli occupation and that, under international law, occupation is meant to be temporary, the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory is illegal under international law.

Conference reaffirms the Liberal Democrats’ commitment to:

  1. A two-state solution in which Israel and Palestine both exist with secure boundaries based on the 1967 lines with two capitals in Jerusalem recognised in international law with normal relations (including diplomatic, security and trade relations) between them and with their neighbours.
  2. The right of Israel and Palestine to territorial integrity under international law, and that any peace negotiations must allow the possibility of negotiations on fair and equal land swaps if replacing existing boundaries, namely the pre-1967 lines.
  3. Condemnation of all threats and acts of violence and unlawful use of force such as war crimes and crimes against humanity, or extra-judicial killing, whoever the perpetrators may be.
  4. The belief that any such threats and acts of violence or force will only make a just settlement more difficult to achieve.
  5. Immediate recognition of Palestine as a sovereign independent state by the UK Government based on the 1967 lines.

Conference calls on the UK Government to:

  1. Work with the international community to facilitate a new peace process and set out a route map to lasting peace including confidence-building measures, especially by working with our EU partners and seeking to use any UK influence with President Biden.
  2. Urge those states and actors in the region which have not yet recognised the State of Israel to do so, as Egypt did in 1979 and as the Palestine Liberation Organization did in 1988.
  3. Express its regret that Palestinian elections were cancelled and engage with the international community to press that the Palestinian Authority reschedules free and fair democratic elections as soon as possible and that the Israeli government permits free and full campaigning and voting, notably in East Jerusalem.
  4. Press for the Palestinian Authority to enshrine ‘crimes against humanity’ in Palestinian law and to strengthen the independence of their judiciary.
  5. Apply pressure on the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, where appropriate, to halt persecution of or discrimination against marginalised groups, including the LGBT+ community and women, civil society organisations and democratic opposition.
  6. Call on the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to do more to stop incitement and hate speech in their media, their respective curricula and in political discourse.
  7. Recognise the tensions among civilians both between and within Israel and Palestine and accordingly increase funding for the region, including by:
    1. Actively supporting humanitarian and civil society efforts within Israel and Palestine to promote peace, including the creation of an international fund for peace, such as the fund proposed by the Alliance for Middle East Peace whose purpose is to create a climate for peace in which the existing status quo, incitement and the language of hatred are seen as unacceptable.
    2. Providing increased support for UNRWA.
  8. Respect the right of the ICC or any other neutral internationally recognised body to investigate possible international crimes in Israel and Palestine according to their mandates and remits, and hold those responsible to account where there are breaches of international law.
  9. Urge continued adherence to the status quo agreement on the holy sites in Jerusalem.
  10. Declare that illegal Israeli settlements represent a de facto annexation of Palestinian territory and that such settlements are a major but not sole factor in making the search for a lasting peace ever more difficult to achieve.
  11. Ensure that trade is used as a tool for peace and shared prosperity in all nations by:
    1. Promoting trade links with Israel and Palestine and increasing cooperation especially in science, technology and medicine.
    2. Ensuring that the UK Government’s approach to international trade promotes human rights and adheres to the international rule of law, and protects the interests of British businesses trading legitimately with Palestinian businesses in the occupied territories.
    3. Acknowledging that illegal settlements represent a breach of international law, and that any UK trade which bolsters such activity is sustaining this breach, by legislating to cease trade with illegal settlements, unless and until a negotiated peace settlement is reached.
    4. Engaging with the UN database on companies operating in the illegal settlements, including supplying information and requesting regular publication of reports from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
    5. Publishing an assessment of the impact of UK business dealings and the role of UK-linked supply chains in sustaining the illegal settlements.
    6. Ensuring that there is equality of treatment for Israelis and Palestinians in the rules for visa free travel to the UK.