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Thank you for your email, my apologies if it has taken longer than you may have hoped to get a reply – however I am receiving several hundred a day right now.

I have supported the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and self-government for many years. The situation in the Middle East over that period has deteriorated and many of the actions of the state of Israel have made it much more difficult to find a peaceful solution.

I have supported the policy position of Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East (LFPME) and I am opposed to continued trade with and the continued construction of illegal settlements on the West Bank. I have long thought that the settlements are as much against the long-term interests of the Israeli people as they are against those of the Palestinians in that they stand in the way of a lasting peace. I have also long thought that only conceivable peaceful settlement had to address the reality of the state of Israel and be based on ‘two states’. I have to say I now wonder if this is ever likely to be achieved, though my pessimism is no reason not to try and to seek to bring the European Union to a more pro-active agent for peace.

One of the promises I made to my friends in LFPME was to, if elected, to visit Palestine and see some of the circumstances for myself.

I will conclude with a couple of points. I feel there is often a thin line on how matters in this area of debate are expressed. I am strongly opposed to anti-Semitism and will oppose it in all its forms. It is important to me while supporting the case for justice for the Palestinian people to oppose anti-Semitic movements such as those that have emerged in a number of European member states some of which have exhibited themselves in the UK in recent months.

Thank you again for contacting me.

Yours sincerely


John Howarth

Labour Candidate for the European Parliament

South East England