Subject: Your Emails
14 November 2014
Thank you for your email to MP, copied to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, about Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. I have been asked to reply.
The Government has repeatedly expressed concerns about the appropriate use of force, including the use of live ammunition, by the Israel Defence Forces, as well as the need for Israel to implement the recommendations of the Turkel Commission on improving how the Israeli authorities investigate alleged violations of international humanitarian law. On the 23 June, the Foreign Secretary issued a statement raising concern about Israel’s use of force, in which he said that is it vital that all security operations are conducted with due care and proportionate use of force. The Foreign Secretary made clear during the search for the kidnapped Israeli teenagers that any use of force must be proportionate, and these messages were echoed by Baroness Ashton on behalf of the European External Action Service on 30 June.
Officials in the British Consulate General in Jerusalem and the British Embassy in Tel Aviv are following closely the case of the five Palestinian teenagers from the West Bank village of Hares arrested by Israeli forces.
The UK deplores the Israeli government’s expropriation of 988 acres of land around the settlement of Etzion near Bethlehem. As the Foreign Secretary made clear in his statement on 1 September, this is a particularly ill judged decision, at a time when the priority must be to build on the ceasefire in Gaza. We have strongly urged Israel to reverse its decision and not to proceed with the proposed settlement building.
The UK’s position on settlements is clear and longstanding. They are illegal under international law, present an obstacle to peace, and take us further away from a two state solution when negotiations to achieve this objective urgently need to be resumed.
The Middle East Peace Process continues to be one of our principal foreign policy priorities. Only a negotiated two-state solution will resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict once and for all and end the occupation. The UK stands ready to do all it can to support this goal.
On behalf of
Near East Department
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
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