Skip to main content

Israel: Religious Freedom

Volume 485: debated on Tuesday 16 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the rights of Christians in the Palestinian territories with regard to (a) housing, (b) employment, (c) travel and (d) access to their property and lands. (242933)

We are concerned about the socio-economic differences between Arab and Christian population groups within the Palestinian territories, particularly with regard to land urban planning, housing infrastructure, economic development and education. We raise these concerns with the Palestinian Authority and will continue to work towards improving conditions for Palestinian minority groups.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of the incident on 23 November 2008 during which the Papal Nuncio in Israel, Archbishop Antonio Franco, was banned by Israeli authorities from entering Gaza; and if he will make a statement. (242935)

We have not received reports that Papal Nuncio in Israel was banned by Israeli authorities from entering Gaza. However, we are very concerned about the general restrictions Israel has imposed preventing all diplomats, including our own staff, and members of the international community from entering Gaza. We and our international partners are pressing Israel to remove these restrictions.