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Occupied Territories: Housing

Volume 498: debated on Thursday 29 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the government of Israel on the building of settlements in the West Bank; and if he will make a statement. (296639)

Settlements are illegal and an obstacle to peace. We raise the issue frequently with Israeli Ministers. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has pressed the Israeli Prime Minister on this several times, most recently in his joint letter of 16 October 2009 with French President Sarkozy. I also raised settlements with my counterpart on 27 October 2009.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of progress in negotiations on the matter of Israeli settlement-building in the West Bank; and if he will make a statement. (296641)

We are extremely concerned by ongoing settlement activity both in the west bank and east Jerusalem, including the Israeli Government's approval in September of new tenders for settlement projects.

We wholeheartedly support the US effort to restart peace talks. Settlements are illegal and an obstacle to peace. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has pressed the Israeli Prime Minister on this several times, most recently in his joint letter of 16 October 2009 with French President Sarkozy. However, it will be for the US to announce what they have agreed with the parties.