Working for peace and nationhood for Palestine

I visited Gaza on a cross party delegation back in March.  It was a trip that will forever stay in my memory.  I’ve always had an interest in a wide range of foreign affairs and they don’t come any bigger than the Middle East.  Achieving peace and stability between Israel and all its near neighbours is the epicentre of the solution to so many other world conflicts, including those carried out on our own streets.

Since the election I’ve become an officer in Parliament’s all party group on Palestine. I intend to keep a close interest in Gaza and the West Bank, as well as other issues affecting states bordering Israel.  I know that many people in Bristol continue to both raise funds and awareness.  I hope to make either a return visit to Gaza or to the West Bank early next year.

Meanwhile, the group has just held its annual reception at the House of Commons, attended by much of the Arab world’s diplomatic corps in London.  I was pleased to meet Professor Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian Ambassador to the UK.  The new coalition government intends to play an active role in working for a two state solution.  Personally, I hope that the EU will also play a greater role, which will counter the usual pro Israeli stance of the USA.  It was said at the reception that every year we hope things will get better by next year’s event but usually the opposite comes true…

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