The UK is deeply concerned about the reports that the new Israeli Government coalition have reached an agreement that may pave the way for annexation of parts of the west bank. Any unilateral move towards the annexation of parts of the west bank by Israel would be damaging to efforts to restart the peace process and contradictory to international law, and might make the chances of a sustainable two-state solution harder. We recently made clear our concerns at the UN Security Council remote meeting on the middle east peace process on 23 April.
I appreciate the Minister’s concern, but does he believe that the proposed annexation by Israel of the Palestinian territories would be illegal under international law? If so, does he think that the United Kingdom Government’s response should be the same as it would be with other countries guilty of illegal annexation, such as Russia?
Our long-standing position is that such a move would be contrary to international law. We continue to have a constructive relationship with both the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and we will continue to work towards a peaceful resolution that takes us to a sustainable two-state solution. That is our long-standing position, and we continue to work towards it.
I am pleased to hear the Minister condemn any proposed annexation of territories in the west bank by the Israeli Government. Will he go further and accept that such an annexation would render any future Palestinian state unviable, would destroy its geographical integrity, and as such would render a two-state solution obsolete? Is it not absolutely essential that the Government act now with others to stop the Israelis annexing territory in the way that they currently intend?
As I said, our long-standing position is that we do not support the annexation of parts of the west bank, as doing so could make a sustainable two-state solution harder. We support actions by the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority that take us closer to a sustainable two-state solution, and we express our concerns about anything that might put that at risk.