UK MPs take virtual reality tour showing horrifying Israeli settler violence against Palestinians
UK members of parliament were given a virtual reality tour of the occupied Palestinian territories, showing shocking and widespread Israeli settler violence on Wednesday, an initiative launched by human rights group B’Tselem.
Viewers saw Israeli settlers swearing at Palestinian farmers, blocking access to their land, stealing crops, arson, and sometimes even severe assault and live fire against Palestinian civilians.
The footage was collected by activists over the past few years and compiled by VR specialists at B'Tselem
"We had the opportunity to show members of the British Parliament our virtual reality installation on settler violence," said the NGO.
We had the opportunity to show members of the British Parliament our virtual reality installation on settler violence, a major tool that assists Israel to take over Palestinian land in the West Bank. Thank you @YachadUK and all those who attended 🙏🙏@saritm0 @dror_sadot pic.twitter.com/NCSYfCwvFM— B'Tselem בצלם بتسيلم (@btselem) December 7, 2022
"Settler violence is not a private initiative; it is another tool, albeit less formal, that Israel uses to expel Palestinians from their land. This violence is part and parcel of Israel's apartheid regime."
Several Labour MPs took part in the tour, while their leader Keir Starmer - who has previously called Israel "a beacon of democracy" - was notably absent.
The Labour leadership has denounced activism that favours boycott actions against Israel, including those that target settlement activity.
Virtual reality being used to highlight Israeli settler violence in the occupied West Bank - violence supported by the far-right party now in government.— Tommy Sheppard MP (@TommySheppard) December 7, 2022
Thanks to @YachadUK’s Hannah Weisfeld and @btselem’s Sari Michaeli for bringing this powerful installation to Parliament. pic.twitter.com/QtvCcxOPfK
"I was shocked by the virtual reality footage of Israeli settler attacks filmed by Palestinian human rights defenders and presented to us today in Parliament," tweeted Bradford West MP Naz Shah.
Wayne David MP said he “saw a terrible example of settler violence against Palestinians.”
"All too often, the perpetrators enjoy almost full immunity," said the Welsh MP after using the VR exhibit.
The settler movement, long given a free rein by successive Israeli governments, has been further galvanised by the recent election of the most right-wing governing coalition in Israeli history.
With extremist settler campaigner Itamar Ben-Gvir taking up his position as national security minister, violence enacted by settlers on Palestinians and their land looks only to increase.