Israel and Palestine Debate

Thank you for contacting me about Israel and Palestine.

I firmly believe that the international community must redouble its efforts to support a comprehensive peace agreement that delivers an independent Palestine alongside a safe and secure Israel. A two-state solution brought about through agreement is the most effective way for Palestinian aspirations of statehood to be met.

Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal and an obstacle to peace. The Israeli Government is well aware of the UK position on settlements, which has not changed. British Ministers have repeatedly called on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law. They have a regular dialogue with Israel on legal issues relating to the occupation, including settlements.

I do not believe that we should ban the importation of products that originate from Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The advice issued by the Government to UK retailers and importers recommends that agricultural produce originating from Israeli settlements in the West Bank should bear an indication which makes this clear. Furthermore, the Occupied Territories are not covered by the current EU-Israel Association Agreement, which governs our trade with Israel. It is up to individual businesses whether they undertake business dealings with companies operating in the settlements.

I can assure you that the UK Government continues to press for an end to restrictions and for urgent measures to relieve the humanitarian suffering of those in Gaza. The Department for International Development is helping to build Palestinian institutions and promote economic growth, so that any future state will be prosperous and an effective partner for peace.

I will continue to monitor events closely.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.