Liberal Democrats Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Layla Moran, has challenged people livid about Israel being labelled an apartheid state to help improve the human rights situation of Palestinians if they are so concerned about the image of the Occupation State.
“My answer to those who are getting angry about the word ‘apartheid’, my challenge to them … well, what are you doing to improve the human rights of Palestinians on the ground in Jerusalem, and other places?” said Moran in an interview with Jewish News. The MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, who is of Palestinian origin, is due to meet with Israel’s far-right ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely, along with Lib Dem leader, Ed Davey.
Commenting on the reports of every major human rights group that have labelled Israel an apartheid state, Moran pointed to the findings of B’Tselem while appearing to stay neutral. “It is not for me to say whether or not the definition of apartheid is being met on the ground in Palestine,” said Moran.
“What I will say is I am afraid to say I recognise the picture that they are painting on the ground from reports I have had from my own family, and the reports I have had a Foreign Affairs Spokesperson,” Moran continued. Admitting that description of Israel as a country practicing the crime of apartheid is “immediately difficult for people to hear,” Moran said that there needs to be an honest and frank discussion about Israel’s practice of apartheid and crimes against humanity.
“I think we need not to shy away from the difficult conversations about the plight of the people on the ground,” Moran went on to say in her interview with the Pro-Israel newspaper. “I don’t think it’s helpful to pretend it’s not happening”.
Moran also spoke about the MPs Bill calling for immediate recognition of the State of Palestine, during which she rejected the argument that the alleged crimes of Palestinian resistance group, Hamas, which is declared a terrorist organisation by the UK, should block the creation of a Palestinian State.
“Britain recognises States that have done even worse than what Hamas has done,” said Moran, while explaining that she herself has criticised Hamas, but the alleged crimes committed by a single group is a different question to the recognition of a State.
“To, in any way, suggest that because of their existence [Hamas], moderates like me and, by the way, that’s the vast majority, in my experience of Palestinians, should have their right to exist taken away from them, play into Hamas’s hands,” said Moran.
Moran also commented on the Jewish only illegal Israeli settlements in occupied West Bank. “Under International law the settlements are illegal, it’s illegal goods,” Moran said, while explaining why goods from settlements must be boycotted. “The reason why the goods shouldn’t be allowed in the UK is simply because they themselves are illegal. We know that many of the people who have moved into the settlements, they’ve done it, done it because they have cheaper housing.”
Moran also spoke about her disappointed with the current Israeli government which many thought would be different from that led by former Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. The far-right Likud leader, who is ideologically opposed to Palestinian self-determination and has aspirations to formalise Jewish supremacy from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea – territory known as historic Palestine – is Israel’s longest serving Prime Minister.