Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has spoken out this week in Parliament about the need for greater action to support a viable two-state solution in Israel and Palestine and voiced concern about the use of UK-manufactured arms in the recent conflict there. Israel has just seen a change in Prime Minister weeks after a heightening of tensions between Israel and the Occupied Territories. Mr Carmichael is a board member of the Council for Arab-British Understanding.
Speaking in Parliament, Mr Carmichael said:
“I have visited Palestine twice and have seen the “one-state reality”. However, the point about the one-state reality is that it is no solution. The only solution is a two-state solution, and if it is a solution that does not involve two states in a meaningful way, it is no solution.
“The yardstick by which British foreign policy should be guided is always to ask one simple question: will this make the achievement of a two-state solution more or less likely? Looking around Palestine, we see that the settlement-building programme on the West Bank makes the achievement of a two-state solution manifestly less likely, and it should be condemned by our Government accordingly. It is also beyond peradventure that Britain should recognise Palestine as a state. There is now no good reason for that not to be the case.
“In the context of the recent conflict in Palestine, I hope that the Minister will look very closely at the deployment of arms that would have come from this country. Like others, I bow to no one in my acceptance of Israel’s right to defend herself, but we all know that self-defence in law must always be commensurate, appropriate and proportionate, and what we saw was none of those things. The idea that these events were contributed to by arms sold from this country is something that many people find disturbing.”