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Britain's Labour Party reprimands MP for occupation 'crime' comment

UK MP Stephen Kinnock of the Labour party in London, UK on 17 January 2019 [Leon Neal/Getty Images]
UK MP Stephen Kinnock of the Labour party in London, UK on 17 January 2019 [Leon Neal/Getty Images]

Labour Party MP Stephen Kinnock has reportedly been given a "dressing down" after saying that profiting from illegal settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank is "tantamount to profiting from the proceeds of crime."

Party leader Keir Starmer was said to be furious at Kinnock's impassioned speech calling for international law to be upheld. Complaints were made by various pro-Israel groups, including the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who raised concerns with Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy and demanded "clarification".

Kinnock made his speech in the House of Commons on 24 September, raising concerns about the increasing number and size of Israeli settlements built on Palestinian land. All of Israel's settlements, official and "outposts", are illegal under international law.

"The Government must ban all products that originate from Israeli settlements in the occupied territories," insisted Kinnock, the son of former Labour leader Neil Kinnock. "Profiting from such products is tantamount to profiting from the proceeds of crime, and it must stop. When we trade with these settlements, we are essentially telling the world that international law does not matter, and such trade legitimises and facilitates the existence and expansion of the settlements."

READ: Israel is turning 36 West Bank nature reserves into settlements

He went on to criticise the "deal of the century": "President [Donald] Trump and Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu have come forward with their so-called deal of the century. This is not a deal. It is not a plan. It is not even a starting point for talks. It is a proposal that is fundamentally flawed because it has no basis in law. It is a land and power grab that would mean Israel seizing around 40 per cent of the West Bank, with full military and security control over the Palestinian people and their resources."

Starmer previously sacked left-leaning socialist MP Rebecca Long-Bailey for sharing an interview on social media with actress Maxine Peake in which she spoke about the Israeli Army's role in training American police forces. Peake's comments in the wake of the George Floyd murder were deemed to be "anti-Semitic" by the Labour hierarchy, despite it being a fact that Israel has trained hundreds of US police officers on restraint and other techniques.

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