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Illegal Israeli settler addresses British Parliament

24th Mar 2016
Illegal Israeli settler addresses British Parliament

Illegal settler and Knesset Speaker from the right-wing Likud Party, Yuli Edelstein, spoke in the Palace of Westminster at the invitation of his counterpart in the House of Commons, John Bercow (Photo: Creative Commons)

Nadine Osman

Palestinian and human right activists have slammed the decision to allow hard-line Israeli Parliamentarian and illegal settler, Yuli Edelstein, to address British MPs and Peers.

The Knesset Speaker from Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, spoke in the Palace of Westminster on March 2 at the invitation of his counterpart in the House of Commons, John Bercow.

Edelstein, who lives in the illegal West Bank settlement of Neve Daniel, met British Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, the previous day.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office told The Muslim News that it was a “routine visit” and it “does nothing to change our position on settlements. Mr Edelstein met the Foreign Secretary, who made our opposition to settlements very clear.”

Bercow’s office also played down Edelstein’s address to MPs telling The Muslim News it was “not a formal” address.

“A meeting between Speaker Edelstein and Members of both Houses was facilitated by the British Group of the IPU [Inter-Parliamentary Union]. While Speaker Edelstein made some remarks to those attending the event, and answer questions, it was not a formal address,” said a spokesman for the Speaker.

However, critics argued an illegal settler addressing the British Parliament in any capacity is “inappropriate and unseemly”.

Palestinian envoy to Britain, Manuel Hassassian, said it was “incredulous that Mr Edelstein is being given a platform in Parliament itself – the self-same Parliament that only a short time ago voted to recognise the Palestinians’ right to self-determination.”

Interim Director of Palestine Solitary Campaign (PSC), Sara Apps, said: “The Fourth Geneva Convention explicitly forbids an occupying power from moving its civilian population into territory it occupies. The settlements themselves are recognised as illegal by the British Government and the UN. And yet here is the speaker of the Israeli Parliament defying international law to live on occupied land.

“This is nothing short of incitement. Mr Edelstein is provoking the Palestinian people by choosing to live, not in the state of Israel, but on their land. And he is also showing his contempt for the Palestinian dream of a Palestinian state, and for the peace process.

“PSC condemns the invitation extended to Mr Edelstein to address the House of Commons and the House of Lords. It is inappropriate and unseemly for an illegal settler to be given the freedom to address the British Parliament.”

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