Balfour Project Action Points for UK Government

Peace with Justice – how to get there

Balfour Project Action Points for UK Government

The Hamas attack of 7th October 2023 and the on-going Israeli destruction of Gaza which followed are but the latest, and most devastating, episode of cycles of recurring violence that must end.  The Balfour Project works to inform the British public and decision-makers about the UK’s historic and contemporary roles and demands that the underlying causes are addressed: 76 years of the Nakba, which began under the British Mandate for Palestine (1923 – 48); 57 years of occupation; 17 years of the Gaza blockade; dispossession and the suppression of all means of peaceful resistance; and the continuing denial of basic Palestinian rights, including the right of self-determination.

The danger of a “forever war” with dire consequences for Israelis and Palestinians, for the whole region and for us in Britain must be averted. The universality of International Law, and the need for accountability for those who breach it, must be re-asserted. The trajectory of violence and lawlessness must be stopped and then reversed. Only a concerted effort by a broad coalition of states committed to upholding International Law can do this. It must be done urgently.

Peace with Justice: How to get There

Immediate requirements

  • Hamas and Israel agree to a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, with the release of all hostages;
  • Hamas immediately halts its indiscriminate rocket fire against Israeli civilian targets;
  • Israel removes all aid restrictions, and fully and actively facilitates the delivery of essential humanitarian aid (food, water, electricity, medical supplies, and shelter) to the Gaza Strip;
  • Israel guarantees the safety of all humanitarian workers, vehicles and installations, as well as essential civilian infrastructure protected under International Law. Starvation must never be used as a weapon of war. Aid supplies must be sufficient to meet the needs of all Gazans;
  • Israel gives unfettered access for all UN agencies including UNRWA, being prevented from undertaking its responsibility for the wellbeing of 1.5 million Gazans – the 1948 refugees;
  • Israel freezes all settlement building in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, halting the massive expansion of the Jewish settler population and takeover of Palestinian land beyond the 1948 Green Line, intended to make the Two-State Solution impossible; and
  • Israel ends the unprecedented levels of settler violence in the West Bank, which is aided and abetted by the Israeli state and security forces, and holds those responsible to account.

Priority Actions for the UK Government

  • Recognise the State of Palestine now, alongside Israel on the 1948 Green Line borders, and support Palestine’s full membership of the UN as a state. Without these steps, the UK commitment to the two-state solution is meaningless;
  • Work with the US, EU, Arab partners and others to end the violence in Gaza, the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and Israel through, inter alia, an inclusive international conference – as proposed by both the EU High Representative and the Arab League Summit in Bahrain. The 57-year Occupation must end with international guarantees of a sovereign, independent Palestinian State on the pre-June 1967 borders, including East Jerusalem; and
  • Immediately restore full UK funding to UNRWA, the indispensable humanitarian actor in the OPT. Also, provide political support for the Agency in the face of a concerted campaign by Israel to end its longstanding role as the mainstay of over six million Palestinian refugees.

Further UK Government Actions Required

  • Ensure the establishment of a genuine, sovereign Palestinian State
  • Insist that, when fighting ends, Israel withdraws completely from the whole of the Gaza Strip, ending surveillance overflights and longstanding restrictions on Gazans’ access to their sea and its resources;
  • Re-unite Gaza with the West Bank including East Jerusalem and support an interim Palestinian administration committed to mutual security and democracy for all Palestinians, leading, within a defined short time, to a sovereign Palestine with control of its own borders, free movement and jurisdiction over all its inhabitants;
  • Contribute to the reconstruction of Gaza and revitalisation of the West Bank, taking into account the burden of disability and trauma, and the loss of skilled personnel;
  • Support Palestinian civil society and political groups in building a broad coalition, reaffirming the PLO’s recognition of Israel on pre-June 1967 borders and committed to democratic renewal, leading to an elected government of the State of Palestine;
  • Support the establishment of an international coalition to guarantee mutual security during the transition to a final resolution of this century-long conflict.
  • End collusion in war crimes
  • End arms sales to Israel, particularly where those arms have been used in Gaza, as well as other practical support being provided by the UK to the Israeli military campaign. Stop buying military and security equipment from Israeli companies;
  • Ban settlement trade and ban UK-based companies including banks and other financial institutions from involvement with settlements or their support system in Israel. An anticipated ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in July that the occupation is illegal, expected in July, makes this essential;
  • Ensure the UK fulfils its obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which our government helped draft and supported: to differentiate in all its dealings with Israel between the illegal settlements and Israel proper;
  • Widen government advice to UK–based businesses to highlight the economic, legal and reputational risks of involvement with the occupation or Israel’s war on Gaza;
  • Vote in the Security Council to enforce ICJ measures aimed at preventing further, ongoing war crimes being committed by Israeli forces in Gaza; and
  • Reject any role for UK judges in a scheme to monitor the treatment of Palestinian detainees in Israeli custody; the proposal attempts to supplant the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), to which Israel has denied access.
  • Ensure legal accountability
  • Increase UK sanctions against violent settlers, those who incite violence against Palestinian civilians, or advocate dispossession, expulsion or genocide, as well as organisations that fund these activities, including those outside Israel; and
  • Support the ICJ, ICC and UN Human Rights Council in holding to account all parties involved in breaches of international law, whether Israeli or Palestinian. [1]


[1] Without accountability, the starvation of a population, the targeting of health, education and other vital civilian infrastructure, the misuse of “dual-use” lists of goods, and the use of Artificial Intelligence algorithms programmed to accept a disproportionate rate of civilian death, will all become established military practice and a starting point for abuses committed in subsequent wars. The credibility of international law is at stake.

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