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Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Socratic debate on Israel/Palestine

The comment below went into spam on this blog, and on my blackberry, it's easier to deal with it as a new comment than it is to - anyway. You'll see that this gentleman is on to me. I do, apparently, "fool nobody!!". And I came so close...I'm loading everything on to the plane in the hope of making a quick getaway. Sigh. Apparently, I last year put my name to a vote against a Palestinian state. This might mean that I am now the UK's UN Ambassador, and voted (in absentia, having forgotten that I hold the job) against Palestinian statehood at the UN (although that is unlikely, for so many reasons, including the fact that the UK did not vote against Palestinian statehood at the UN). It could also mean that I am, after all, the MP for Hendon (or a peer of the realm) and voted against it in Parliament, although this is not a matter on which Parliament has actually voted, so I guess it's not that. No, Mr Ali is referring again (and again) to September's motion on the Arab Spring at Liberal Democrat Conference. The motion (which referred to the Arab Spring as the Arab Awakening, just to avoid the danger that the general public might understand what the heck we were talking about) was very good. Very good indeed. Although it was not supposed to be about Israel/Palestine (it was about the Arab Awakenspring), it included a very good amendment about Israel/Palestine, re-stating the party's position very nicely. Lib Dem Friends of Palestine supported it, as did Lib Dem Friends of Israel. I voted for it. Sarah Ludford voted for it, after a speech in which she said that she was voting for it, but that she wished it said a bit more. The gentleman below is convinced that we voted against it, and so voted against a Palestinian state. This, apparently, demonstrates my perfidy, but, as he tells me: "You fool nobody!" Well, here is the amendment (which I voted for, not against):

"The UK, EU and international community to continue their support for the fundamental human rights of both the Israeli and the Palestinian people, and to step up efforts to promote peaceful negotiation between Israel and the freely elected representatives of the Palestinian people which will lead to a comprehensive and final peace treaty between the two sides based on the legitimate entitlements of each in international law, including their right to live in peace and security"

From: Andi Ali <>
Date: Tue, 01 May 2012 21:37:48 +0000
To: <>
Subject: [Matthew Harris] New comment on Gareth Epps censors me on Tonge.

Andi Ali has left a new comment on your post "Gareth Epps censors me on Tonge":

Blogging that you support somthing Haris is one thing, atually supporting it is another. The Liberal Democrat friends of Israel are good at saying they support a Palastinian state, while doing everything they can to vote against it. Take Ludford for example, tells everyone she's in favour of a Palastinian state, but when the Palastinians applied for a state last year, she put her name along with other lib dem friends of israel to vote against it. You fool nobody!!

Posted by Andi Ali to Matthew Harris at 1 May 2012 22:37


  1. There you go again Harris twisting words.....ur good at that. I was talking about the Palastinians application for UN membership which Ludford did oppose. She put her name to a document urging the EU foreign minister to oppose it. Why not ring her and ask.

    1. Thank you for clarifying that, Andi.

      I believe that the document to which you refer is this letter to Baroness Ashton by a cross-party group of MEPs from across the EU on 11 July 2011:

      It was indeed signed by Sarah Ludford MEP. I urge everyone to read it carefully. I agree with it strongly. It says:

      "We are members of the European Parliament from across the political spectrum, all united in the conviction
      that only a negotiated two-state solution can end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is precisely because we believe in the justness of the Palestinian cause that we urge them to refrain from seeking UN recognition of a unilaterally declared state, a counterproductive step we fear could set back the chances for peace. Instead, Palestinians and Israelis
      should immediately resume negotiations.

      "Past agreements between the parties and international mediators clearly reject unilateral actions. The Oslo Accords, the basis of Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation, state that “Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will
      change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.”

      "Likewise, the Quartet’s Road Map calls for a negotiated solution. Just this February, the Quartet, which includes the EU, said that it “strongly reaffirms that unilateral actions by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations and will not be recognized by the international community.” The European Council has also repeatedly stressed the need for a negotiated two-state solution, urging in December “all parties to refrain from provocative
      unilateral actions,” and reiterating in May that “negotiations are the best way forward.”

      "Both sides will have to make difficult compromises to reach an agreement. Palestinian unilateralism at the UN would erode the room for such compromises by committing current and future Palestinians to non-negotiated positions. A unilateral move will not bring reconciliation; it will not bring stability; it will not bring peace. Rather, it will most likely fell the peace process for good. The prospect of UN recognition also raises unrealistic expectations among Palestinians that they soon will have a sovereign state. But a UN vote will not change the reality on the ground and thus disappoint many Palestinians. Such disappointment has in the past often ignited new violence.

      "We, members of the European Parliament, therefore urge you, Lady Ashton, as well as the governments of the 27 EU member states, to discourage unilateral Palestinian efforts to attain UN recognition. Only an immediate return to negotiations - for which pressure must be exerted on all parties - can save the peace process."