Delegation for relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council (DPLC)
As a substitute Member of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council (DPLC) I follow the situation on the ground in the Palestinian Territories, Israel, and the surrounding countries which are affected by the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict.
Though the Palestinian Legislative Council itself does not currently function, the Delegation continues to monitor the situation of Palestinians on the ground and the ongoing political developments.
The most pressing issue that is raised with us is the situation of refugees, many of whom are now the descendents (second and third generation) of refugees displaced following the 6 day war, and who have lived outside of what was once Palestine for all of their lives.
As such these "stateless persons" enjoy no citizenship of any state, and are primarily supported by aid through the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) and to a lesser extent the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Our work due to its basis on the Palestinian political situation is by nature focussed on the situation of Palestinians, rather than Israelis, though this is counterbalanced by the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Israel.
Despite this Palestinian focus, I and my colleagues try to remain objective and neutral - looking at the political failings, whatever their root causes which result in the humanitarian problems which blight ordinary people in the region.
We as a delegation continue to call for a peaceful, political resolution of the conflict between Israel and Palestine, based on a two state solution, a safe and secure state of Israel, and a viable, economically and politically independent Palestinian State.
For more information please see the following links:
European Parliament Delegation for relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council
United Nations Relief Works Agency
United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Lib Dem MEP Phil Bennion has highlighted the continuing damage done to prospects for a renewed Middle East peace process by the Israeli policy of arbitrary arrest and administrative detention without trial of 4,800 Palestinians.
Dr Bennion spoke out after members of the European Parliaments' Palestine Delegation (DPLC) took part in an international meeting on "Freedom and Dignity" in Ramallah, Palestine, to discuss the ongoing problem of the arbitrary arrest and detention without trial or charge of Palestinian political prisoners by the Israeli authorities.
I recently attended an extraordinary meeting of the European Parliament's Delegation for relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council.
The agenda had one item, an account given in person by Mahmoud Sarsak, a young Palestinian footballer held in administrative detention for 3 years without charge by the Israeli authorities.
Responding to the speech by Israeli President Shimon Peres in the European Parliament, Lib Dem MEP Phil Bennion welcomed his 'positive remarks' on the potential for reconciliation but urged Israel's new government to take the necessary action to get peace talks moving once more.
The West Midlands MEP, a member of the Parliament's Delegation to the Palestinian Legislative Council, welcomed Mr Peres' statement that 'peace between Israel and Palestine is possible' and that remaining 'disputed issues can and should be negotiated as soon as possible.
In an unanticipated shift in the allocation of seats in the Israeli parliament (Knesset), the prospects for a centrist Liberal voice to be heard in the new government offers a glimmer of hope that the peace process may be put back on the agenda.
The newly formed centrist Yesh Atid party became the second largest party in the Knesset, making it the probable king maker in coalition negotiations.
West Midlands MEP Phil Bennion has praised the work of Liberal MEPs in brokering a tough cross-party resolution on Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which was adopted by the European Parliament in Strasbourg today.
Phil Bennion has praised the role of Liberal MEPs in brokering a resolution on Israeli settlements which gained cross-party support.
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