Labour MP visiting Samaria opposes boycotts

British MP Ian Austin visiting Samaria criticizes European boycotts, UN Resolution: 'Alarming decision that does not promote peace.'

Mordechai Sones ,

MP Ian Austin and Yossi Dagan
MP Ian Austin and Yossi Dagan

British Labour MP Ian Austin, recently visited Samaria.

Austin met with Yossi Dagan, head of the Samaria Regional Council, who toured plants that the EU seeks to boycott, and showed him the harmonious relationship between Israelis and Palestinians working there. Austin also visited Pedu'el and Barkan.

Austin commented during his visit on boycott initiatives and the UN Security Council resolution. "I am concerned about the decision of the UN Security Council first of all because it singles Israel out, secondly because it pretends the problem, the only problem, or the biggest problem is the settlements.

"I do not think it does anything to bring the Israelis and the Palestinians closer together to promote negotiations and to promote coexistence. I think the answer to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is coexistence, getting people working together, getting people talking together...

"I oppose boycotts because I think boycotts drive people further apart, and what I think needs to happen is that people need to be brought together.

"So I want to see Western governments supporting coexistence projects, supporting people-to-people work; I think these are the building blocks."

He added that the citizens of Israel live in a mistaken concept that all Europeans are against them: "Contrary to what many people in Israel think, I think lots of people in Britain and Europe want closer relationships between their countries and Israel." Austin hopes for more investment and trading in Judea and Samaria, would like to see Gaza demilitarized, and would like to see countries doing everything possible to promote the advance of peaceful coexistence. He believes that there has always been strong support of Israel, and that many people in Israel think that the British are against them which, according to Austin, is not true.

Yossi Dagan, the head of the Samaria Regional Council said, "It is certainly encouraging to meet with more and more policymakers and opinion leaders, not to mention MPs and Congressmen, who understand and see how the boycott movement and behavior at the United Nations and the European Union does not match the reality on the ground and actually harms coexistence rather than promotes it.

"I regret that many of our friends in the world and even in the country make decisions concerning the lives of Judea and Samaria residents without having ever set foot anywhere in a town there."

Dagan also referred to the peace conference expected in Paris and said, "For this reason, and because the two sides are not participating in the conference, the conference is a joke. The ongoing disregard of European officials of Judea and Samaria and its needs and, of course, the interests of Israel, renders the conference irrelevant".