Skip to main content

Occupied Palestinian Territories: Illegal Settlements

Volume 730: debated on Thursday 23 March 2023

7. Whether she plans to advise businesses not to trade with illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. (904248)

The UK has a clear position on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories: they are illegal under international law and constitute an obstacle to peace and the two-state solution. As set out in Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office guidance on overseas business risk, there are clear risks to UK businesses related to economic and financial activities in the settlements and we do not encourage or offer support to such activity.

Ramadan Mubarak to everyone celebrating.

In January, the Foreign Secretary told the House that the UK Government’s position on the illegality of Israeli settlements remains unchanged. If that is the case, will the UK Government finally suspend trade in goods and services between the UK and companies operating in illegal Israeli settlements? Do the Government understand that if not, the UK is essentially legitimising outposts that clearly violate international law?

The UK’s long-established position on the settlements is clear, as I outlined. The UK does not recognise the Occupied Palestinian Territories as part of Israel, including the illegal settlements. For example, goods originating from illegal Israeli settlements in the west bank, including East Jerusalem, are not entitled to tariff or trade preferences under either the agreement that the UK has with Israel or the agreement between the UK and the Palestinian authorities. I think it is important for the House to recognise that, of course, we also have an agreement with the Palestinian authorities.