Google removes Palestine from its maps.

The Palestinian‬ Journalists’ Forum has denounced Google for deleting the name of ‪‎Palestine‬ from its maps and replacing it with ‪‎Israel‬.

Google
Credit: Middle East Monitor

In a statement released yesterday, the forum said Google’s decision to remove Palestine from its maps on 25 July “is part of the Israeli scheme to establish its name as a legitimate state for generations to come and abolish Palestine once and for all.”

 

Read more at Middle East Monitor:

New Israeli ‘Youth Bill’ permits imprisonment of Palestinian children.

Yesterday, 3rd August, the ‪‎Israeli‬ parliament passed a bill into law which would permit the imprisonment of Palestinian children aged 14 and younger.

The ‘Youth Bill’ allows Israeli authorities to imprison Palestinian children if convicted of “terrorism” against Israeli civilians or military personnel.

The intention of this new law is to punish primarily Palestinians from occupied ‪‎East Jerusalem‬. ‪‎Palestinian‬ minors from the occupied ‪‎WestBank‬ have long since been at the receiving end of the Israel occupation forces military court system.

Credit Ma'an News Agency
Credit Ma’an News Agency

 

Read the full story here:

Credit Ma’an News Agency

Israeli authorities block member of Palestinian team travelling to Rio Olympics.

Erez checkpoint.
Erez crossing.

Only last week Israeli occupation forces blocked 6 players from Palestinian football team Shabab Khan Younis from passing through a checkpoint, as a consequence the Cup Final they were participating in had to be cancelled.

This week, the Israeli Government are preventing the head of the Palestinian Olympic team, Issam Qishta, from leaving Gaza to join the 22 strong Palestinian Olympic squad in Brazil.

In addition, the Palestinian team has had to buy equipment and supplies upon arriving in Brazil after Israeli authorities had refused to allow their much needed equipment to leave occupied Palestinian territory with them.

 

Read more here.

MAP & Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights launch refugee initiative.

Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR) and Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) have launched an initiative to ensure that the most vulnerable Palestinian refugees from ‪#Syria‬ are given equal access to international protection by the UK government’s relevant resettlement schemes.index

They have identified and received confirmation that Palestinian refugees from Syria are excluded from the UK government’s flagship Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme. Furthermore, they have obtained information from the UK government which reveals that no Palestinian refugees from Syria have to date been resettled in the UK through the ‘Gateway’ resettlement programme that it operates with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

 

You can read and download the full briefing here.

Palestine need more than words from the UK Government!

On Thursday 28th of July, Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood issued a statement from the UK government condemning the expansion of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Whilst this condemnation of the unabated expansion of illegal settlements is welcome by SNPFoP, we need far more than statements from this UK Government, we need to see them take firm action with the international community to put pressure on Israel to put a halt to the continued colonisation of occupied Palestine.

Tobias Ellwood’s statement in full reads:

“The UK condemns the Israeli authorities’ decision to issue tenders for a further 323 settlement units in East Jerusalem. This follows recent development of plans for 770 new units in the Jerusalem suburbs.”

“As set out in the Quartet report, settlement activity is counterproductive and undermines progress towards a two-state solution. This announcement comes on the back of an alarming increase in demolitions of Palestinian houses throughout 2016, including in East Jerusalem.”

“These steps are the latest examples of what seems to be an acceleration of a systematic policy of illegal settlement expansion and demolition of Palestinian property. Along with our international partners, we call on Israel to halt all demolitions and settlement activities.”

You can read the statement in full here. UK Government

Dr. Philippa Whitford spends Parliamentary recess in occupied Palestine carrying out life-saving breast cancer surgery.

Our very own Dr Philippa Whitford MP has just returned from her Spring recess trip to the sun… no, not to some sandy beach, that’s actually not a very safe option where Phillipa has just returned from. No, during Parliamentary recess Philippa has traveled more than 2,000 miles to occupied Palestine to carry out life-saving breast cancer surgery.

Image
Dr. Philippa Whitford MP performs breast cancer surgery on a Palestinian woman.

 

 

“Philippa Whitford, an MP for Central Ayrshire in Scotland and a breast cancer expert before entering parliament, traveled to provide care for a number of Palestinian women, who face an uphill struggle to get quality treatment.

Whitford carried out four major cancer operations in the West Bank last week, before travelling to Gaza on Sunday to advise hospitals there on how to improve their care.

One operation was on a woman with “very advanced” cancer, said the lawmaker, who returned to the United Kingdom on Thursday.

“It was very large in the breast and very advanced in the lymph nodes. She had had chemotherapy, but it hadn’t got a lot smaller and she still had a lot of disease.”

“It was just a difficult operation and we knew it would be,” she said, adding that initial signs suggested it had been successful.

Whitford, who became a lawmaker for the left-wing Scottish National Party (SNP) in the 2015 British general elections, said breast cancer treatment in the Palestinian territories suffered from a lack of planning, resources and Israeli restrictions.

In Gaza, breast cancer kills more women than any other cancer, according to a 2011 research paper by researchers from Harvard Medical School.

There are regular shortages of medicines in Gaza, including those to treat cancer, and no radiotherapy. “Getting anything into Gaza is not secure. You can’t say ‘we get a delivery every month and it will be here and the hospital will be stocked.’ So they are forever running out of things,” Whitford said. She said that, while in England doctors would usually remove just a part of the breast, in Gaza they tend to remove the whole breast –- whether through lack of training or due to limited medical facilities.

image
Philippa Whitford visits al-Ahli Hospital with its medical director Doctor Maher Ayyad in Gaza City on April 5, 2016. (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)

Radiotherapy is available in Israel and East Jerusalem, but Palestinians say travel permits are hard to obtain, border points can be closed depending on events, and some cannot afford the trip.

More than 120,000 Palestinians entered Israel for medical treatment in 2015, mostly from the West Bank, according to Israeli officials.

The lack of quality treatment in Palestinian territories, Whitford said, meant recurrence rates are believed to be more than double those in the United Kingdom.

No delegation of British lawmakers has been permitted entry into Gaza by Israel since 2009. Earlier this year a delegation of members of the European parliament was refused entry.

But Whitford applied and entered as a single doctor rather than in a delegation, thus skirting Israel’s restrictions.

It was a return for her, having worked as a breast cancer surgeon in Gaza for 18 months in the early 1990s with Medical Aid for Palestinians.  She said returning to the Palestinian enclave was like “coming home.”

 

More than 8 percent of Palestinian women develop breast cancer in their lifetime, the Palestinian health ministry says.

But Whitford said breast cancer was for a long time a hidden killer in Gaza due to social stigma.

“When I came [in 1991] the doctors told me there was no breast cancer here,” she said. “As soon as people realized there was a woman surgeon they started to come and I realized there was actually a lot of breast cancer.”

Whitford said she never expected to be a lawmaker, but that her skills helped her in her role as the SNP’s shadow health spokeswoman.

The SNP has also criticized the British government’s lack of firm action over Israel’s continued expansion of settlements in the West Bank.

Image
Dr. Whitford, SNPFoP Westminster co-spokesperson, at SNP Spring Conference.

Whitford said the West Bank, which is supposed to form the bulk of a future Palestinian state, is “being moth-eaten — every time I come back the settlements are bigger, they are closer to key Palestinian towns and cities.”

“We need to be saying ‘we don’t want to deal with settlements, we don’t want British registered companies to be dealing with settlement’s.”

 

Via AFP Wire

The Unique Vulnerability of Palestinian Refugees from Syria.

By Anne Irfan
PHD CANDIDATE, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS
This paper was presented in a Parliamentary seminar in the House of Commons on 21 March 2016.

As we are all too aware, Syria today is in the midst of a major humanitarian
disaster. More than 5 million Syrians have fled the country since the start of the
Civil War 5 years ago, leading the UN to describe the situation as the worst
refugee crisis since the Second World War.1 What we have heard much less about
is the plight of the many Palestinian refugees also fleeing Syria, and in the process
becoming twice or even three-times displaced as a long-term stateless population.

This evening, we want to highlight not only the numbers of Palestinian refugees
from Syria but also their particular vulnerabilities. To put it simply, Palestinian
refugees are suffering from further persecution and torment simply because they are
Palestinian.
At the core of their plight is of course their statelessness, which makes them
inherently vulnerable for the obvious reason that they lack the protection of a
state. In the case of Palestinian refugees from Syria, they are additionally
vulnerable because they also lack the protection of many other states and
international organisations which are responding to the crisis by focussing
exclusively on Syrian refugees, rather than all refugees from Syria. While this might
sound like merely an issue of semantics, it is in fact an important distinction.

Before the beginning of the Syrian war in 2011, there were around 560,000
registered Palestinian refugees living in Syria.2 This population can be traced to the
original refugees from Palestine in 1948 and their descendants. Their conditions in
pre-war Syria were relatively good; although they lacked citizenship, the
Palestinians were well-integrated into Syrian society and enjoyed many of the same
rights as Syrian citizens, including access to healthcare, education and
employment. Their situation was much better, by comparison, than that of
Palestinians in neighbouring Lebanon, who are denied the right to work in
professions, to own property or access state services.

Today the situation of Palestinians in Syria has changed drastically. More than
100,000 Palestinians have fled Syria, and it is estimated that around half of these
(45,000) have sought refuge in Lebanon. 3 The numbers fleeing to Lebanon
increased after January 2013, when the Jordanian government imposed a ban on
Palestinian refugees from Syria entering the country (although it has continued to
accept Syrians). The Jordanian ban drove many Palestinians escaping Syria to
travel to Lebanon instead, putting a huge amount of pressure on already overstretched
Lebanese resources. The Lebanese government subsequently closed
its doors to Palestinian refugees from Syria in May 2014.4

This has left those Palestinian refugees fleeing Syria with very few options. As
already mentioned, these people are uniquely vulnerable because of their
statelessness; they are also uniquely vulnerable because the international
organisations that were theoretically created to help them, actually leave them at a
major institutional disadvantage. Under international convention, Palestinian
refugees are administered and categorised differently not only to Syrians but to
every other group of refugees in the world. If this seems absurd, it is worth noting
that it is nothing new; it is certainly not limited to the last 5 years. In fact, this kind
of ‘Palestinian exceptionalism’ has always been the case, dating back to the very
beginning of their existence as a large-scale refugee population.

To recap briefly, the Palestinian refugee crisis began in 1948, in what is known as
the Nakba (meaning ‘the catastrophe’) when around three-quarters of the
Palestinian population lost their homes and became refugees. The newly-created
United Nations, which had been operational for 3 years at the time, intervened
directly. In 1949, it created the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine
Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), to respond specifically and exclusively to
the plight of Palestinian refugees. UNRWA became responsible for their welfare
in the 5 geographical fields with the largest Palestinian refugee population: the
West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan and of course Syria. Since then, the Agency
has provided a huge range of major services that would conventionally be the
domain of the state, including healthcare, education and poverty relief.

The year after the UN created UNRWA, it moved to establish a broader
organisation for refugees across the world. In 1950 it created the office of the UN
High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). When the UN created UNHCR, the
crucial decision was made that UNRWA would not be merged with it. Instead,
both organisations continued to exist alongside one another, with UNRWA
responsible for Palestinian refugees, and UNHCR responsible for all other
refugees globally. As a result, the Palestinians are the only group of people
excluded from UNHCR’s mandate.5

This set-up remains in place to this day, such that UNHCR is responsible for all
refugees in the world, except the Palestinians. Today, Palestinian refugees are
cared for by one organisation, and everyone else is served by another organisation.
One might ask why this matters, if the result is that everyone is ultimately being
served. It matters because there are fundamental differences in what these two
organisations – UNRWA and UNHCR – are mandated to do. UNRWA has a
much more limited mandate than UNHCR, which has put the Palestinian refugees
at a serious disadvantage.

Most crucially, there is a disparity in the two organisations’ mandates for
providing protection to the refugees they serve. UNRWA is not mandated to
provide protection to the Palestinian refugees or to pursue political solutions to
their plight. Instead, this is the role of yet another UN body, UNCCP.6 UNCCP
was established in 1948, just before UNRWA, with a mandate to pursue political
solutions to the Palestinian refugee crisis. In reality UNCCP has been inactive for
many decades now. UNRWA claims that it has a de facto mandate for protection,
and its work in this area has increased over the last two decades, but it remains
informal and adhoc.7 Ultimately no UN organisation is formally mandated to
provide protection or pursue political solutions for the Palestinian refugees.

By contrast, UNHCR is mandated to provide protection and to pursue political
solutions for the refugees it serves – for example, it explicitly promotes return as a
solution.8 Of course, the Palestinians are excluded from UNHCR’s mandate,
generating what is known as a ‘protection gap’ whereby the Palestinian refugees
are left uniquely vulnerable.

Moreover, in practical terms UNRWA is also limited by its geographical
constraints. UNRWA is only mandated to work in the 5 fields of the West Bank,
Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan and of course Syria. By contrast UNHCR has a much
larger mandate to operate across the world in every continent.

What does all this mean for Palestinian refugees from Syria? Unfortunately, this
disparity between UNRWA and UNHCR, and the resulting protection gap, had a
host of negative repercussions for Palestinians fleeing Syria today.

Firstly and fundamentally, it means that Palestinian refugees are lacking formal
protection at a time when they need it most. As Palestinian refugees are ineligible
for UNHCR services and are not Syrian citizens, too often they are falling through
the gaps and not being able to access the services they need. As they cannot
register with UNHCR, their numbers, needs and conditions are excluded from the
data.

There is a particular problem when Palestinians from Syria seek refuge outside the
5 geographical fields where UNRWA works. In theory, in these situations they
should fall under the mandate of UNHCR; Palestinian refugees become eligible for
UNHCR services when they are outside UNRWA’s fields of operation. 9 In
practice, this is often quite complicated, and the Syrian refugee crisis has only
served to highlight the difficulties.

For example, Turkey shares a long border with Syria and has received many
refugees fleeing the civil war, both Syrian and Palestinian. Turkey is outside
UNRWA’s fields of operation, and UNHCR operates there through the Turkish
government. Unfortunately, there are reports that Palestinian refugees from Syria
have not been allowed to register with UNHCR in Turkey.10 As the Turkish
government does not allow UNHCR to perform refugee status determination, the
Palestinians’ legal status in Turkey remains unclear.11

The situation is even worse in Egypt, where the government does not allow
Palestinians to register with UNHCR on the explicit grounds that they come
under the mandate of UNRWA. As UNRWA is not mandated to work in Egypt,
the result is that Palestinians there lack any assistance whatsoever, let alone
protection. In contrast to Syrian citizens, Palestinians in Egypt cannot register
with UNHCR as refugees and therefore they cannot receive residence permits, or
access food vouchers, medical support or any emergency relief.12 Even worse,
there are reports that some have been forcibly deported back to Syria, in
contravention of the 1951 Refugee Convention.13

Even those Palestinian refugees from Syria who have been able to register with
UNRWA in Jordan or Lebanon, remain at a disadvantage. They must rely on the
very limited resources of UNRWA, which is already hugely overstretched.
UNRWA’s financial problems have only worsened due to the Syrian crisis, and it
is of course the Palestinian refugees who are suffering as a result.14

Finally, Palestinians are ineligible for many of the special programmes that have
been set up to aid Syrian refugees, including the one that David Cameron has
launched on behalf of the UK government. Mr Cameron announced in
September 2015 that the UK will take 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next 5
years. He also announced that these 20,000 refugees will be identified through
UNHCR, which will mean that Palestinians are automatically excluded.

In view of this, the question remains as to what action can be taken.
Fundamentally, there is a need to insert the plight of the Palestinians into the
many discussions taking place about Syria. Many people are simply not aware that
there are Palestinian refugees fleeing Syria at all, let alone that they suffer from
particular discrimination. The task of ‘raising awareness’ may sound clichéd, but it
is a vital first step to take.

In this spirit, the UK charity Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is launching a
new factsheet on Palestinian refugees from Syria, with the objective of spreading
the word about their plight. Highlighting the Palestinians’ exclusion from relief
programmes is also vital. MAP is petitioning the UK government to ensure that
its response to the Syrian refugee crisis does not exclude Palestinians. The petition
can be viewed and signed online at www.map-uk.org/Syria

Unfortunately, the conditions of many Palestinian refugees from Syria are dire and
getting worse every day. Action needs to be taken as soon as possible to prevent
total catastrophe. While raising awareness may seem basic, it really is a necessary
step to ensure that Palestinian refugees from Syria can get the protection and the
assistance they so desperately need.


1 http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=52055#.VvKGdse3Pww
2 http://www.map-uk.org/news/archive/post/364—palestinian-refugees-from-syriabetween-
dispossession-and-displacement
3 Ibid.
4 https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2014/07/families-ripped-apart-palestinianrefugees-
syria-denied-entry-lebanon/; https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/08/07/jordanpalestinians-
escaping-syria-turned-away ;
http://www.mapuk.org/news/archive/post/364—palestinian-refugees-from-syriabetween-
dispossession-and-displacement
5 Article ID of the 1951 Refugee Convention excludes ‘persons who are at present
receiving from organs or agencies of the UN other than the UNHCR protection or
assistance’. The Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA are the only group to
whom this applies.
6 United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine
7 Lance Bartholomeusz, ‘The Mandate of UNRWA at Sixty’, Refugee Survey Quarterly, 28:2-
3, 452-474; Susan Akram, ‘Reinterpreting Palestinian Refugee Rights under International
Law’, in Nasser Aruri (ed.), Palestinian Refugees: The Right of Return (London: Pluto Press,
2001), 165-194.
8 The preface to the UNHCR Handbook on Voluntary Repatriation states: ‘voluntary
repatriation is usually viewed as the most desirable long-term solution by the refugees
themselves as well as by the international community. UNHCR’s humanitarian action in
pursuit of lasting solutions to the refugee problems is therefore oriented, first and
foremost, in favor of enabling a refugee to exercise the right to return home in safety and
with dignity.’ UNHCR, Voluntary Repatriation: International Protection (Geneva, 1996).
9 See also Endnote 5. The second paragraph of Article 1D states that ‘when such
protection or assistance has ceased for any reason, without the position of such persons
being definitively settled…. these persons shall ipso facto be entitled to the benefits of this
Convention.’ This is usually interpreted to mean that when registered Palestinian
refugees have ceased to receive UNRWA services as a result of being outside its 5 fields
of operation, they consequently become entitled to UNHCR services. See also: UNHCR,
Revised Note on the Applicability of Article 1D of the 1951 Convention relating to the
Status of Refugees to Palestinian Refugees, October 2009.
10 http://www.badil.org/phocadownload/badil-new/publications/periodicals/almajdal/
al-majdal-57.pdf
11 https://al-shabaka.org/briefs/palestinian-refugees-from-syria-stranded-on-themargins-
of-law/
12 http://www.badil.org/phocadownload/badil-new/publications/periodicals/almajdal/
al-majdal-57.pdf
13 Article 33 of the 1951 Convention prohibits signatory states from expelling refugees to
territories where their lives may be endangered (the principle of non-refoulement). Turkey
and Egypt are both parties to this Convention.
14 In 2014 UNRWA reported a deficit of over $60 million. Its funding crisis was so
severe last year that it had to delay the start of the school year while it sought emergency
funding.

Airbnb under pressure.

Last week Tommy Sheppard MP wrote to the chief executive of the Californian-based online company Airbnb pointing out that the Israeli settlements where the homes are situated are illegal under international law.

Letter to Airbnb
Letter to Airbnb

“It is of deep concern that a company such as yours that prides itself as being a community, is showing such disregard for the communities in the Occupied Territories who are seeing their homes demolished for Israeli settlements to be built,” he wrote to Airbnb chief executive Brian Chesky.

“It seems incredible that a company that aspires to have an international reputation should be assisting in the operation of illegal settlements. By facilitating owners to maintain their settlement properties through Airbnb your company is supporting the unlawful occupation.”

Speaking from Westminster Sheppard told The Scottish Six: “Let’s be clear about this. Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestine are illegal. Palestinians are regularly subjected to home demolitions to allow for the building of Israeli settlements which are then subsidised by Israel to encourage settlers to move in and take valuable resources, including water, away from Palestinians.”

Andy Murray, convener of SNP Friends of Palestine, also hit out.

“What Airbnb is doing is immoral, unethical and perpetuates the violation of international humanitarian law,” he said. “Illegal Israeli settlements are counterproductive and one the biggest stumbling blocks to a peaceful and just resolution for the Palestinian people.belo-200x200-4d851c5b28f61931bf1df28dd15e60ef

“Commercial entities such as Airbnb are effectively financially rewarding illegal settlers for the seizure of occupied Palestinian land and encouraging others to do the same.”

One of the properties in the Occupied Territories is a two-bedroomed apartment with a swimming pool in Ofra, available for £50 per night.

One reviewer said: “The view from this place is lovely. The hosts supplied us with a luscious bowl of fruit, and milk and coffee and tea, as well as locally produced soap made of all-natural ingredients. A beautiful tiled terrace greeted us at the top of the stairs. The apartment was spacious, and the walls were lined with bookshelves, a book-lover’s dream.

“The host and his wife were very available to meet any needs that arose. Also, for those whose only language is English, the host is fluent. For a reasonable charge they supplied us with a fresh Israeli breakfast. Ofra is a safe and protected neighbourhood.”

Last night Yopav Sorek, the host of the Ofra property, told The Scottish Six: “Israel never occupied any territory of Palestine, as such a state never existed.” He added:“Every place needs to be defined in some way. Airbnb offers only two options: Israel and Palestine. As we are Israelis in an Israeli settlement, that’s the reasonable description.”

Founded in San Francisco in 2008, Airbnb’s online listing service spans 191 countries and 34,000 cities around the world.across the world.

The website connects tourists and travellers in need of a place to stay with locals looking to rent out a spare bedroom or property. Both guests and hosts are rated by the online community.

The company’s stated mission is to allow people to “belong anywhere” and it has been used by nearly 17 million travellers.

Despite being based in California, Europe accounts for more than 50 per cent of Airbnb’s business, with Paris as its busiest city worldwide.

Last year the company launched in Cuba with 1,000 listings, even though Cubans have limited access to the internet. It is also trying to expand throughout Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

A petition created by Jewish Voice for Peace, Codepink, American Muslims for Palestine, the US Palestinian Community Network and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation has received nearly 142,000 signatures condemning the listings of homes in Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories.

Read the full story in The National Newspaper: HERE

And also directly on Tommy Sheppard MP‘s site: HERE

 

‘Palestinians Refugees from Syria – The Forgotten People’

SNP Friends of Palestine & The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) invite you to:Palestinians Refugees from Syria – The Forgotten People’ – Monday 21 March, 18:30 – 20:00 House of Commons (Committee Room 9)

'Palestinians Refugees from Syria – The Forgotten People'
SNP Friends of Palestine & The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) invite you to…

This seminar in the House of Commons will explore the issues faced by the Palestinian refugees in Syria, in light of the 5th year anniversary of the Syrian crisis. The discussion will explore how Palestine refugees remain particularly vulnerable and have been disproportionately affected by the conflict.

Hosted & Chaired by
Tommy Sheppard MP

Speakers Include:

Ahmed Hussein
Director of Action Group for Palestinian Refugees of Syria

Anne Irfan
Former Medical Aid for Palestinians
PhD Student examining UNRWA Camps

Sameh Habeeb
Head of Media/PR
Palestinian Return Centre

Further Speakers to be Announced
To book your seat email: info@prc.org.uk

Take action – Contact your MP NOW!

We need you to contact your MP and ask them to ensure they attend next week’s debate in the UK Parliament on new rules banning public bodies from making ethical procurement decisions.

image
Take action NOW!

Many of you will have read in the media about this Tory government’s new guidance limiting the ability of public bodies – including but not limited to local councils and universities – to make ethical choices in their procurements. This could reverse the many positive efforts public bodies have made to divest from illegal Israeli settlements, as well as other areas. In some cases the guidance even appears to contravene the government’s own advice and international law.

In their press release announcing the guidance, the government said….

“We need to challenge and prevent these divisive town hall boycotts. The new guidance…will help prevent damaging and counter-productive local foreign policies undermining our national security”.

Although the guidance has already been published, there are still a number of questions the government needs to answer. It’s therefore key that as many MPs as possible attend and speak out at the debate just announced so the government can see the strength of feeling there is over this issue. The debate will be held next Tuesday, March 15 in the UK Parliament’s Westminster Hall from 2:30-4:00pm.

Please make no assumptions that your MP will be there, the only way they will know of the strength of feeling is if everyone contacts them!

To find out how to contact your MP, click HERE.

* Whilst the guidance applies only to England at the moment, it could possibly have implications in the future for Scotland.

* Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine are illegal under international law (Article 49, Fourth Geneva Convention). SNP Friends of Palestine calls for an end to trade with the settlements.

Take urgent action NOW to prevent the ban on ethical procurement!