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Volume 592: debated on Thursday 12 February 2015

Stance of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Hamas

I am honoured to present a petition that has been signed by a number of Jewish people who live in my constituency. It was handed to me by a constituent, Mr Lewis Herlitz, on behalf of Fair Reporting. My constituency has a wonderful Jewish community, who are very concerned about the anti-Semitic sentiments that they believe are being fuelled by events in the middle east, and about the lack of clarity in the language being used by the Foreign Office regarding those events.

The petition states:

The Petition of residents in the Southend West constituency,

Declares that the Petitioners believe that the Foreign Office view Hamas as a plausible negotiating partner for creating a peace agreement with Israel; further that the Petitioners believe that such a view is incorrect as Hamas’s own political charter clearly states that it seeks nothing less than the destruction of Israel; further that the Petitioners believe that the Foreign Office is unwilling to clearly declare that it deplores the use of civilians and civilian buildings by Hamas as part of Hamas’s warfare strategy; Hamas’s consequential abuse of civilian properties as places from which to launch attacks on Israel, and its abuse of civilians as human shields resulting in a disproportionate loss of life; further that the Petitioners believe that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and is the only place in the Middle East where Christianity and other faiths can co-exist peacefully and thrive; further that a lack of clarity in support of Israel contributes to anti-Jewish sentiment; further that the Petitioners recognise the need for, and the rights of, the civilians of Gaza and other Arabs who live within and around Israel for a peaceable existence; and further that the Petitioners believe that the lack of demonstrable public clarity by the Foreign Office to support Israel and to deplore Hamas is deeply concerning.

The Petitioners therefore urges the House of Commons to request that the Foreign Office explains its actions and views on Israel, and clarifies its view of and position on Hamas.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


Closure of Barclays Bank in St Agnes

I rise to present a petition on behalf of residents of St Agnes relating to the closure of the Barclays bank branch there. It is the last bank in that thriving community. A local petition on this issue has received 2,827 signatures.

The petition states:

The Petition of residents of St Agnes,

Declares that the Petitioners oppose the plans to close the St Agnes branch of Barclays Bank; further that the Petitioners feel that the branch is a vital element of their community; and further that a local Petition on this matter has been signed by 2,827 individuals.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to encourage Barclays to reverse their decision to close the branch in St Agnes or to postpone the closure to enable the Petitioners to work with the bank to make it more viable for it to be kept open.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.