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MP Responds on Israeli Settlements

S4P&J members wrote to their MP Tom Brake to seek his views on the debate in Parliament on Thursday 9th of February regarding Israeli settlement expansion. Mr Brake wrote back:

I am pleased to say I spoke in the debate. You can see the speech I made here.

In my speech I expressed my severe concerns regarding the Land Regularisation Bill, the position the UK Government has taken by failing to support the recent Paris Peace Conference and the Government’s failure to make adequate representations to the Israeli Government before the demolition of Umm al-Hiran.

I also emphasised that Israeli settlement expansion is not the only obstacle to peace and that Palestinian initiated violence must also cease. I strongly believe that Israel must abandon its illegal programme of settlement expansion, which undermines the possibility of a two-state solution and increasingly makes any likelihood of peace in the region impossible.

I am concerned by the current situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Gaza and condemn the continued cycle of violence. As a Liberal Democrat, I am committed to seeing a negotiated peace settlement with a two-state solution. This will involve difficult, but necessary compromises on both sides of the conflict in order to respect the rights of both Israeli and Palestinian peoples.

Regarding United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, I believe the motion merely reasserted that Israeli settlement expansion is in contravention of international law. I was therefore happy to see the UK play a leading role in drafting this motion. It is important that for there to be any hope that the peace process will restart, it is noted that the boundaries of Israel and Palestine should be recognised under the 1967 borders, and not take into account the illegal settlements which have since been constructed with the support of successive Israeli administrations.

I have been disappointed to see the reaction from Israel and from the new Trump administration following this motion. I believe that threats to nations which supported the motion and the withdrawal of UN funds are very regrettable. I am also greatly concerned by the current Israeli administration’s refusal to engage in meaningful talks towards a peace process.

I was also disappointed to see the Prime Minister describe the recent speech regarding Israel and Palestine by John Kerry, the then US Secretary of State, as inappropriate. I will hold the Government to account regarding this matter to ensure that the UK’s position does not shift towards that favoured by the Trump administration which I believe will lead to an intensification of the violence in the OPTs and Israel.

Hearing reports that Bedouin villages are being demolished to pave the way for further settlement expansion by the Israeli authorities and that the Bedouins are being denied basic services such as electricity, water and metalled roads is extremely concerning, as I believe that Bedouins should be granted the same human rights as others.

I have also tabled many Written Parliamentary Questions to the Foreign Secretary regarding Israel and Palestine, they can be found here.

I hope that this response confirms that I am treating the matter of Israeli settlements seriously. Please contact me if I can be of further assistance.


Tom Brake
Liberal Democrat MP for Carshalton and Wallington

The Colloquium in Carshalton Park

Throughout the day of the Environmental Fair, Sutton for Peace and Justice will be hosting a series of informal and open discussions on a range of peace and justice issues at the Sutton for Peace and Justice stall, M12 & M13:

11.00    The challenge of Climate Change: Action on climate change is essential for peace and justice across the world.

12.00      Equality – best for all: How a more equal society would be beneficial to rich and poor alike.

13.00     Sutton for Sanctuary: Campaigning to make Sutton a community that welcomes and supports refugees and migrants.

14.00     The plight of the Palestinians: Living with occupation, illegal settlements and house demolitions.

15.00     Equality – best for all: How a more equal society would be beneficial to rich and poor alike.

16.00     Sutton for Sanctuary: Campaigning to make Sutton a community that welcomes and supports refugees and migrants.

Please come along and find out more, have your say and join the debate.

Colloquium – an informal gathering for the exchange of views, from the latin ‘to talk together’;  a seminar usually led by a different academic or expert speaker at each meeting.

Film – within the eye of the storm – 6 March

Sutton for Peace and Justice presents the film ‘within the eye of the storm’.

An award winning documentary film following the stories of Palestinian and Israeli fathers, both of whose daughters were killed in the conflict , as they seek to humanize the enemy and end the vicious cycle of violence and retaliation.

Within Eye of storm

Bassam and Rami were dedicated fighters willing to kill and be killed by one another for the sake of their nations, who each came face-to-face with the price of war when their daughters were killed in the conflict.

But they chose an unexpected route in reaction to the pain of bereavement. They set out on a joint journey to seek to humanize the very enemy which took the dearest thing from them and prevent the vicious cycle of retaliation in themselves and their societies.

The film follows their two parallel stories, revealing the friendship and humour that keeps them alive at this critical junction in both their lives, as their life mission and personal agenda clash and they face their shattered families, confused communities and opposing society.

Directed by Shelley Hermon, in association with the Sundance Institute and France 5 TV.

On Friday 6 March, at Friends House, Cedar Road, Sutton, SM2 5DA. Doors open 7.00pm, film starts at 7.30.

There is no advance entry charge, donations will be taken on the night. Please reserve your place by email to sutton4peace@yahoo.co.uk or by text message to 07740 594496.

Galilee Quartet in concert and in conversation – in Sutton

On Monday 6 October the internationally renowned Galilee Quartet will be performing in Sutton.

The string quartet is made up of three brothers and one sister, from a Druze family from the village of Maghar in the Galilee in Israel:

Omar Sa’ad, viola; Mostafa Sa’ad, violin; Ghandi Sa’ad, violin; and Tibah Sa’ad, cello.

All four are students at the Beit Almusica Conservatory who have performed throughout Palestine and in many cities of Europe. In 2013 they played with Nigel Kennedy at the Proms in the Albert Hall.

The Quartet will play a selection of classical and Arabic music. The concert will be followed by a question and answer session with Omar Sa’ad, viola player and conscientious objector, who will speak about the story behind the Quartet.

As an Israeli citizen Omar, the oldest brother, was called up for military service, but he refused to take part in what he called ‘the occupation of his own people – the Palestinians’. Omar was sent to military prison, but eventually exempted from military service after refusing the draft seven times.


This is a rare opportunity to see the Galilee Quartet in this country – at one of only nine concerts on their short tour of England and Wales in 2014 – and hear their story.

The concert will take place on Monday 6 October, doors open 7pm for a 7.30 start,

at Sutton Grammar School (entrance off Greyhound Road, Sutton, SM1 4AN).

It is being organised by Sutton for Peace and Justice in association with Amnesty International.

There is no advance entry charge, donations will be taken on the night.

Places are limited – attendees must reserve a place by email to salehmamon@hotmail.com or by text message to 07931 786134 and receive a confirmation.

MPs to be lobbied on Gaza

Members of Sutton for Peace and Justice will be taking part in the mass lobby of Parliament for Gaza on 9 September.

They will be joining with hundreds of others from across the country lobbying their MPs to show how much we care about the situation in Palestine.

The lobby is calling for:

  • An immediate and permanent lifting of the blockade on Gaza, allowing free movement of people, goods and humanitarian aid
  • An end to the arms trade, and all military-industrial collaboration, with Israel
  • Sanctions against Israel until they abide by international and human rights law


There will be a briefing session to prepare people for meeting their MP, at Westminster Cathedral Hall between 12 and 1.45.

This will be followed by the lobby of MPs at the House of Commons between 2 and 4 pm.

If your MP is Paul Burstow or Tom Brake and you are interested in joining the lobby please contact Saleh Mamon on salehmamon@yahoo.co.uk

The lobby is being organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and there is more information on their website.


Screening of ‘The Stones Cry Out’

Christianity was born in Palestine two thousand years ago. From there it spread throughout the Middle East and to the rest of the World.

For more than 60 years, Palestinians – Christians and Muslims – have suffered displacement, expulsion, wars, occupation and oppression.

Yet the voices of Palestinian Christians have too often been drowned out in the turmoil of events.

This is their story, in their voices.

A film by Jasmine Perni, 2013.

Being screened by Sutton for Peace and Justice, Friday 25 July 2014, at Freinds House, Cedar Road, Sutton, SM

Doors open 7pm for 7.30pm start.  No entry charge, donations will be taken to cover costs and support the filmmakers.

Please reserve you seat by email to <sutton4peace@yahoo.co.uk>

A rare chance to see this film not previously screened in this area.

The Stones Cry Out – voices of Palestinian Christians

For more than 60 years the Palestinians have suffered displacement, expulsion, wars, occupation and oppression. Many of those who have suffered are Palestinian Christians but their voice is often drowned out in the turmoil of events.

‘The Stones Cry Out’ is their story, from the Nabka of 1948 to the present day.

Palestine, where Christianity was born two thousand years ago, is home to some of the oldest Christian communities in the world.

In 1948, when tens of thousands of Palestinians were driven from their homes in the Galilee to make way for the settlers of the newly created state of Israel, Elias Chacour, now the Archbishop of the Galilee, was just a boy.  His village of Kifr Bir’am  and its church today lie abandoned and crumbling.

In 1967 the West Bank was appropriated; then came the settlements, and the wall that hems in Bethlehem – the birthplace of Christ.

Palestinian Christians suffer from discrimination restrictions on movement, the  checkpoints, land appropriation and house demolitions, the expansion of jewish settlements,  that make It difficult for Palestinians to worship freely and Holy sites are vandalised. Their numbers are dwindling as many emigrate as a result of the difficulties of living under Israeli military occupation .

Too often the media show the conflict in Palestine as a fight between Muslims and Jews, ignoring the role of  Palestinian Christians in their land’s history and the struggle to maintain its identity.

The film recounts the unwavering and sometimes desperate struggle of all Palestinians to resist Israel’s occupation and stay on their land.

Sutton for Peace and Justice is screening The Stones Cry Out on Friday 25th July 2014, at Friends House, Cedar Road, Sutton, SM2 5DA. Doors open 7.00pm, film starts at 7.30.

There will be no fixed entry charge, but donations will be taken to cover our costs and help support the film makers.

To reserve your seat – email to sutton4peace@yahoo.co.uk or  text to 07740 594496.

A rare chance to see this film in south London.

Please print and display the attached poster where others who may be interested in the film will see it.

For further information about The Stones Cry Out and Christians in Palestine, go to www.thestonescryoutmovie.com