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Emily Thornberry interviewed by Middle East Eye

Emily Thornberry, the UK Labour party’s Shadow First Secretary of State, on Monday told Middle East Eye on the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration that while Prime Minister Theresa May “refused to apologize to Palestinians for Britain’s responsibility for what befell them as a result of that Declaration,” Thornberry would like to turn the special date into a source of joy and glee for the Arabs of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip – let’s give them a state.


Asked by MEE if, had she been the real Foreign Secretary today, “would you invite an Israeli Prime Minister to Britain to celebrate Balfour,” Thornberry answered: “I don’t think we celebrate the Balfour Declaration but I think we have to mark it because I think it was a turning point in the history of that area and I think probably the most important way of marking it is to recognize Palestine.”

Thornberry continued: “The British government have said they will [recognize], it’s just a question of when the time is right and it seems to me this is the time. I remember when [Mahmoud] Abbas came to Britain it was a few years ago and I was at a meeting with him and I said: ‘What would be the one thing you would want from us?’ And he said: ‘recognition.’”

She added, in mantra-fashion: “And I remembered that. It’s two states. We need to have two states, two viable states, two viable secure, safe states. We must not forget that in the end that is the only solution. We should measure everything we do against that.”

Thornberry, who may have cost Labour a win back in 2014 with an elitist tweet, and is widely considered a dove when it comes to keeping up Great Britain’s nuclear deterrence capabilities. As can be expected, she is also a sworn enemy of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, blaming them and Israel’s presence for the “security situation,” in the best tradition of “It all started when Israel retaliated”:

“I remember in 1982 driving all over the West Bank, backwards and forwards, there was no problem,” she told MEE. “The last time I went, it was almost impossible to get from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, because of the security situation. It is not just the settlements, it’s also the road closures, the security points, the flying posts which just makes a Palestinian state unviable.”

She supports BDS, although remains very careful as to the language she uses: “It would be up to individuals as to whether they bought [Israeli products] or not. It’s against our law for British firms to be investing in the West Bank and that has to be made clear. In Alexander Palace (in North London) there were estate agents who were selling holiday flats on the West Bank. That should not have happened. That should have been stopped.”


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