Labour calls for Palestinian Mission in London to have diplomatic protection after spate of attacks

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Labour has called for the Palestinian Mission to the UK to be given diplomatic protection after a spate of attacks.

The building in Hammersmith has been vandalised on multiple occasions since Hamas launched in brutal attack on October 7.

Staff have also reported receiving a "growing number" of death threats and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is understood to have raised the security concerns with Rishi Sunak.

But, despite the building and its address being included in the Government's list of embassies, consulates and high commissions, it does not get diplomatic police protection.

Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy and shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper have called for the building to be given a police defence.

In a letter to David Cameron and James Cleverly on Monday, the Labour frontbenchers said: "We encourage the Government to work urgently with the Metropolitan Police Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command to ensure that...an appropriate level of protection is granted to the Palestinian Mission so it can continue to carry out its vital diplomatic work at this extremely sensitive time."

They added that the Palestinian Mission plays an "integral role" in diplomatic efforts to "coordinate humanitarian assistance, prevent wider regional escalation and to work towards lasting peace".

"No diplomatic building should be vandalised or attacked, and we equally condemn the recent vandalism of the Israeli embassy and support the police in dealing swiftly with such incidents," they said.

Earlier this month, the the Palestinian Mission released CCTV of a man on a motorbike spraying paint on the building.

In a statement, the mission, which provides official representation for Palestinians, said: “On Saturday, November 18, 2023, at 23.05 the Palestinian Mission to the UK was attacked and vandalised.

"In addition to death threats, damage to vehicles and vandalism of property, this is the fourth attack in the last few weeks.”

They said the incidents had been reported to police.

“It is the responsibility of the UK government to enable the Palestinian Mission in London to function unhindered," the mission added.

"We urge, yet again, the British government to take immediate steps to ensure the security and safety of the Palestinian Mission, its ambassador and staff.”

The Met Police said: "Detectives are investigating following several incidents of criminal damage to the Palestinian Mission in Hammersmith, and want anyone with information to help identify who is responsible.

"These have been reported and are being treated by a dedicated team of detectives as hate incidents."

Additional police patrols are being carried out in the area.

A government spokesman said: “The Palestinian Mission should be able to continue its legitimate work without fear of threat or violence.

“The UK Government’s protective security system is rigorous and proportionate. It is our longstanding policy not to provide detailed information on those arrangements, as doing so could compromise their integrity and affect individuals’ security.”