Thank you for contacting me about the security situation in the West Bank.
The security situation in the West Bank has been of concern for some time. There has been continued loss of innocent lives and injured civilians, especially children, highlighting the need for restraint, calm, and respect for dignity of human life from all parties. My thoughts are with those who have been affected by ongoing violence.
It is deeply troubling that the conflict between Israel and Hamas has only caused tensions in the West Bank to rise. However, it is absolutely vital that the West Bank remains calm, and I welcome that the Prime Minister has been in contact with the President of the Palestinian Authority and His Majesty the King of Jordan to discuss the support the UK can provide to ensure the stability of the territory. I am assured that the UK Government will remain in active dialogue with partners to try to prevent escalation.
The UK Government has long held the position that there should be a negotiated settlement leading to a safe and secure Israel living alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state, based on 1967 borders. For many years, the UK has consistently called – both bilaterally and via the UN – for an immediate end to all actions that undermine the viability of such a solution.
Despite the current terrible circumstances, I welcome that the UK Government has made clear its commitment to the two-state solution, and has said that it will work together with international partners to bring renewed energy and creativity to this effort.
Supporting a two-state solution will of course rely on establishing more effective governance for Palestinian territories in the West Bank and Gaza - governance that is not corrupt, is more concerned with the welfare , and will also mean challenging actions that undercut legitimate aspirations for Palestinian statehood.
The UK Government has long expressed the view that in all but the most exceptional of circumstances, demolitions and evictions are contrary to international humanitarian law, and UK opposition to the demolition of Palestinian property is long-standing. The UK Government believes that the practice causes unnecessary suffering and is harmful to efforts to promote peace.
The UK's close friendship with Israel is not incompatible with having regular and frank dialogue with Israel on legal issues relating to the occupation; indeed, honest conversations are made possible by that friendship. I know that the Minister of State for the Middle East continues to reiterate this position to the Israeli Foreign Minister and Israel’s Ambassador to the UK. Furthermore, on 13 September, the UK Foreign Secretary met Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh in Ramallah where he acknowledged apprehensions over continued Israeli settlement expansion, demolitions and evictions in the West Bank.
I will be sure to monitor this situation closely. Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP