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Palestinians: Israel

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 9 September 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent consideration he has given to his Department’s performance on meeting its obligations in respect of the non-recognition of illegal acts under international law, with particular reference to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory. (287164)

The Government take their international and domestic law obligations very seriously. We will continue to make clear to the Israeli Government that all settlement activity is illegal and is a violation of international law. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary did so during his meeting with Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak on 6 July 2009 and also in a conversation with his counterpart Avigdor Lieberman on 1 July 2009.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Palestinian Authority on recognition of the State of Israel as a Jewish state; what response was received; and if he will make a statement. (287520)

We welcome the fact that the Palestinian Authority recognises the state of Israel and is prepared to negotiate a peace deal with it.

The nature of the state of Israel, and the role that religion plays, is a matter for Israelis, although we would expect Israel to respect the rights of minorities as undertaken in Israel’s declaration of independence and basic laws. We welcome the fact that the Israeli Government have not said that Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state should be a precondition for entering negotiations with the Palestinians.

The UK’s position is clear that a comprehensive peace should be based on two states, living side by side within secure and agreed borders based on those of 1967, with Jerusalem as the capital for both states. Such a solution is the only way to do justice to the national aspirations of the Jewish people and of the Palestinians.