Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Keith Taylor - MEP for the SE

Introduction: The UK General Election will be on May 7th. We will all be considering who we should vote for. I have recently contacted Keith Taylor, a Green Party MEP representing the South East. I received this response and felt moved to republish it on this blog. 

Katy Cadwallader, Keith's constituency caseworker wrote:
"Thank you for your email to Keith Taylor MEP, which he has asked me to respond to on his behalf. 

Keith is a passionate campaigner for Palestinian human rights and works on the European Parliament's Delegation to the Palestinian Legislative Council (DPLC). He has been working hard to keep the Israel-Palestine conflict and the violent situation in Gaza over the summer at the top of the European agenda.
In September, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution on the role of the EU regarding the situation between Israel and Palestine now that a ceasefire is in place. The Resolution urged the EU to participate effectively in the urgent humanitarian aid effort and in the reconstruction of Gaza, and called on the EU to participate fully in the International Donors Conference on 12 October 2014 in Cairo.

Prior to the vote on this Resolution, MEPs in the European Parliament debated the potential role of the EU in working towards a two-state solution. Keith gave a speech during this debate which blasted the Parliament's weak stance on the issue and their failure to formally recognise the disproportionality of the violence. Keith and some of his colleagues in the Green group were able to demand that the EU take immediate steps to negotiate the lifting of the blockade on Gaza, the extending of fishing zones and to open the border crossing.

Keith's speech is available to view via the following link, from 20:15:00 onwards: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/en/plenary/video?debate=1410975629570&streamingLanguage=en

Keith also wrote to the EU's previous High Representative for Foreign Affairs (HR/VP), Catherine Ashton, condemning the violence in Gaza and the use of densely populated civilian areas as targets. His full letter is available to read on his website: http://www.keithtaylormep.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Situation-in-Israel-Palestine_Catherine-Ashton_16.07.2014.pdf

You may already know that MEPs debated the recognition of Palestine as a state at the end of November. Keith and the Greens submitted a motion for a Resolution to this debate calling on EU Members to recognise the State of Palestine. The vote on this resolution took place last month, and Keith was thrilled that the Parliament voted in favour of recognising Palestinian statehood.

Keith is also calling on the EU to respond to the continued expansion of Israeli settlements by:
  1. stepping up EU public diplomacy, 
  2. reassessing cooperation assistance to Israel in line with the “less for less policy”, 
  3. strictly excluding the application of EU-Israeli agreements to the occupied Palestinian territories,
  4. strengthening advice to EU citizens and companies on settlements and settlement activities and taking action vis-à-vis EU companies complicit in violations in the settlements, 
  5. taking concrete measures towards settlers, including the adoption of a non-contact policy and visa ban,
  6. excluding settlement products from the EU internal market,
  7. revisiting EU-Israeli relations in light of Article 2 of the Association Agreement
Keith has recently met with his Green colleagues on the Palestine Delegation, as well as the Green group's political advisors for foreign affairs, to discuss how pressure could be put on the EU to suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement. Keith and his colleagues are planning a series of seminars in the Parliament addressing serious human rights breaches in Palestine and what steps the EU can take next.

He has also been in touch with the ECCP will soon be co-signing a letter to the new HR/VP Federica Mogherini to consider the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement.

Thanks again for sharing your comments and taking the time to write to Keith. You can see more of the work Keith has done to protect human rights and build towards peace in the Middle East on his website: http://www.keithtaylormep.org.uk/category/peace-anti-nuke/

Be assured that, throughout his term as an MEP, Keith will continue to call on the EU to take a stronger stance and a more prominent role in securing a securing lasting peace between Palestine and Israel, to review the EU's trade agreement with Israel in light of their actions and to ensure Israel complies with international humanitarian law."

The Green Party have a full coherent policy on peace in Israel/Palestine. It is good to see a UK political party taking such a stand for peace and justice. 

Ken Perrett

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