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Israel and Palestine: East Jerusalem

Volume 692: debated on Thursday 24 May 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the Middle East quartet has discussed Israel's plans to build 20,000 houses in east Jerusalem; if not, whether they will put this on their agenda as a matter of urgency; whether they have raised the subject bilaterally; and, if so, when they raised it. [HL3764]

The quartet (EU, US, UN and Russia) has not discussed these plans with Israel. We will continue to discuss settlement activities with EU parties, including with EU High Representative Solana and EU Special Representative Otte, both of whom attend quartet meetings.

We are concerned about the announcement of new housing units in east Jerusalem. We have raised this with the Israeli Government. Our ambassador in Tel Aviv did so on 1 March with Israeli Foreign Minister Livni. Settlements are illegal under international law and settlement construction is an obstacle to peace. We will continue to raise this with the Israeli Government.