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Israel

Volume 447: debated on Tuesday 20 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the British Government's policy is on Israel's withdrawal from the West Bank to the 1967 borders and from its settlements within the West Bank; what the Government's policy is on Israel's policy of unilateral withdrawal; and if she will make a statement. (78621)

It remains our position that all Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories are illegal and that there should be no expansion of/or construction within settlements, in line with the Roadmap.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made clear that the priority now is negotiations. These are manifestly the best way to move this process forward. But if negotiations do not take the process forward then other ways to move it forward will have to be found. It is the role of the international community to give negotiations the best chance of success.

We remain committed to the vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, and the establishment of a just and lasting peace.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make a statement on the shelling of the Beit Lahia beach in the Gaza Strip by Israeli artillery; and what assessment she has made of the effect of the incident on the middle east peace process. (78927)

Israel has denied responsibility for the deaths of seven Palestinians on 9 June. However, we remain concerned that Israel's response to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip should be proportional. We call on Israel to ensure that civilians, particularly children, are not harmed. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed this matter with Israeli Foreign Minister Livni on 12 June. We also continue to call for an end to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip on Israeli targets and for calm in the occupied territories. We support President Abbas's efforts to restore order, using legally constituted security forces.