Israel's actions in West Bank equivalent to Russian invasion - British MP

A Labor MP argued on Thursday that Britain's condemnation of Russia's violation of international law should not differ from its attitude towards Israel's alleged violations.

 PRO-ISRAEL ACTIVISTS wave an Israeli flag as pro-Palestinian activists take part in a demonstration against Israel in central London last May. (photo credit: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images)
PRO-ISRAEL ACTIVISTS wave an Israeli flag as pro-Palestinian activists take part in a demonstration against Israel in central London last May.
(photo credit: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images)

A member of the British Parliament compared Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank during a motion to formally recognize a sovereign state of Palestine, according to protocols of the debate.

The motion was put forward by Labor MP Julie Elliot.

“We watch today as a European country faces war and occupation, and we stand with Ukraine in opposing Russian aggression,” she said on Thursday after outlining her arguments in favor of the motion.

“My heart goes out to the Ukrainian people. We rightly talk about international law, and I listened to the Minister for Asia and the Middle East speak only a few minutes ago about the vital importance of the sovereignty of states, but how must Palestinians feel when they hear that? They have endured 54 years of occupation, which in itself is an aggression,” she said.

Tory MP Stephen Crabb was the leading opposer of the motion and argued that the comparison was wrong.

“I respectfully say to her that conflating today’s invasion of Ukraine by Russia with the very difficult and sensitive situation we are supposed to be debating with regard to Israel and the people of Palestine is historically, factually and morally wrong," he argued. "I think it does a huge disservice not just to the people of Ukraine but to the people of Palestine and the people of Israel who face a unique situation and set of challenges.

British Conservative MP Stephen Crabb is seen near the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain (credit: REUTERS/HENRY NICHOLLS)British Conservative MP Stephen Crabb is seen near the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain (credit: REUTERS/HENRY NICHOLLS)

Elliot responded: “I was talking about upholding international law, which the Minister for Asia and the Middle East talked about a few minutes ago, and it is as relevant to Ukraine as it is to Palestine.

“The Palestinians are looking to us to speak and act in the same terms. We sanctioned Russia over Crimea, and we are now likely to impose more sanctions, with which I wholeheartedly agree, yet Palestinians ask why we do nothing to end Israel’s occupation,” she said.

“The international community has to hold Israel accountable, as it has held Palestinian groups accountable," Elliot said. "If the settlements are illegal and the UK Government says they are illegal, the logical consequence is that we should not be trading with, or supporting in any way, enterprises that are in clear violation of international law and that the Government says are an obstacle to peace."

Some left-wing Israeli organizations have also drawn a comparison between the situation in Ukraine and in the West Bank.

After Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Thursday condemned the invasion calling it a “serious violation of the international order,” the Israeli-Palestinian NGO “Combatants for Peace” said that “We bless the Israeli government’s internalization that violent occupations due to claims over historical ownership at the dispense of human rights are violations of international law. We express solidarity with the Ukrainians and expect that the Israeli government implements this position in its own actions.”