Email to Amber Rudd, Hastings MP

Dear Amber,

I am currently volunteering in the West Bank with the International Women's Peace Service.

Yesterday I attended a conference in Bethlehem attended by members of Palestine civil society, UNOCHA other international peace teams to discuss an action plan against the continuing land confiscation in the E1 area - east of east Jerusalem - and the ethnic cleansing of Bedouin communities living there. These people have already been made refugees through forced displacement from the Naqab (Negev). 60% of them are children.

Many conference speakers appreciated the UK government vote as a step in recognizing the state of Palestine, however facts on the ground render it mainly symbolic. The E1 plan and expansion of the Ma'ale Adumim illegal colony (settlement) located in the E1 area together with the recent proposal to confiscate 4000 donums west of Bethlehem are examples of the impossibility of Palestine to exist as a contiguous state - the municipal area designated to Ma'ale Adumim already extends to the Jordan valley. If the E1 plan is implemented the south of the West Bank and East Jerusalem will be cut off from the rest of 'Palestine'. Most observers think the 2 state solution is dead in the water and merely bolsters the intransigence of the Israeli government bent on complete annexation of the West Bank.

UNOCHA has formulated a Strategic Response Plan 2014 - 16 for the vulnerable communities in the whole of the oPt with particular focus on Area C. But some in the Palestine civil society doubt the seriousness of the UN to implement both International Law and International Humanitarian Law.

Apart from these formal attempts for Palestinians to obtain their human rights, I witness daily injustice and discrimination meted out to them by the Israeli army. I am ashamed that I am a privileged westerner (and honoured guest!) and that our government cannot do more than 'raise issues' with the Israeli government

Best Regards,
16 October 2014.