In Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Questions on 2 March 2021, the UK Government was pressed on issues related to Palestine, Syria and Yemen by UK MPs. Below are various video clips and questions taken from this parliamentary session, but the whole thing can be watched here and read here.
Forced evictions, dispossessions and demolitions
Chair of the Britain-Palestine All Party Parliamentary Group, Julie Elliott MP, raised the forced evictions and dispossession of Palestinian families and the demolition of Palestinian homes in areas of occupied East Jerusalem such as Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and Issawiyah, which she described as "a deliberate attempt to re-engineer the demographic make up of occupied East Jerusalem."
SNP MP Alan Brown also raised the forced evictions and dispossessions of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah and Batn al Hawa in Silwan, and the illegal settlement of Givat Hamatos which is out to tender. He asked the UK Government about implementing trade bans on goods from illegal Israeli settlements.
Joanna Cherry MP raised the issue of 53 Palestinian schools, which according to UNOCHA, all have Israeli demolition orders placed upon them, an additional threat as schools across the world deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Funding to UNRWA
Labour MP Andy Slaughter urged the UK Government to guarantee funding for UNRWA and its operations for Palestine refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
Vaccine provision for Palestinians
Shadow Middle East Minister, Wayne David MP raises Israel's legal responsibility to vaccinate Palestinians against COVID-19 and urges the UK Government to urge the Israeli Government to work with the Palestinian Authority to ensure Palestinians are vaccinated as well as Israelis.
Cat Smith MP raised the issue of Palestinian civilians being tried in Israel's military court system, highlighting the recent report by War on Want: Judge, Jury and Occupier. She asked what the UK Government was doing to support Palestinian human rights defenders being tried in Israeli military courts.
Alison McGovern MP asked the Government about its intention to welcome Syrian refugees to the UK following the end of the resettlement scheme, and guarantees to offer those refugees a good quality of life in the UK. She talked of the "humanitarian hell-hole that Syria has become over the past decade.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that global resettlement plans were decisions to be made by the Home Secretary.but said he would "fully support it."
MPs responded to the decision to cut roughly 50% of its aid to Yemen. Labour MP Jeff Smith, in challenging the UK Government's cuts to humanitarian aid, quoted the UN Secretary General who described it as "a death sentence".
In a question about minimising the impact of aid changes on the Global South, Chair of the International Development Committee Sarah Champion MP said that she was "ashamed" at the UK Government decision to almost halve humanitarian support for Yemen.