Stephen Williams MP - working hard for Bristol West

Stephen's views on Israel and Palestine

This conflict is inevitably an emotive subject, and a peaceful resolution cannot be achieved without dialogue and concessions from both sides. As many of my constituents have understandably highlighted, disproportionate military responses from Israel in Gaza, the West Bank and, more recently, Lebanon have only created a worsening humanitarian and political situation. As Israeli troops target key aspects of civilian infrastructure the viability of a Palestinian state and the rebuilt Lebanese state are seriously jeopardised.

Throughout the peace process two fundamental principles need to be continually reasserted: the first is that the State of Israel has a right to exist in peace and security within recognized boundaries; the second is that the Palestinians are entitled to peace, justice and a viable homeland. These concepts are to be found in UN Security Council resolution 242, passed in 1967, and they have survived through the Madrid conference, the Oslo agreement and Camp David; and are to be found in the road map. Without a sustainable economy and suitable provision of sanitation, education and healthcare, there can be little hope for a viable Palestinian state. Therefore action must be taken to help alleviate an already terrible situation.

The UK should also take every opportunity to persuade Israel to cease unconditionally building the security wall and new settlements; to require the Palestinian Authorities to take all practical steps to prevent acts of terrorism; and to encourage both sides to negotiate a final status peace agreement. The UN, EU and the US & UK have put pressure on Palestine to stop suicide bombings but that should not stop us from putting the same pressure on Israel to stop targeted assassinations and to stop illegal building on Palestinian land which is earmarked for a future Palestinian state. In the current atmosphere violence begets violence.

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