Thursday, 22 Aug 2019 - 21 of Av, 5779

Shift in UK policy ? New British Foreign Minister condemns Israel’s decision to build new housing units in the West Bank

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

The statement by Dominic Raab marks a shift in tone from the British Government and could be interpreted as a warning to the Israeli government not to pursue plans announced by Prime Minister Netanyahu to apply Israeli sovereignty to Israeli settlements.

LONDON—The new British Foreign Minister, Dominic Raab, condemned the decision of the Israeli authorities to approve the building of new housing units in the West Bank.

In a statement, Raab said that the construction of new settlement units “promotes the effective annexation of the West Bank.”

The statement by Dominic Raab marks a shift in tone from the British Government and could be interpreted as a warning to the Israeli government not to pursue plans announced by Prime Minister Netanyahu to apply Israeli sovereignty to Israeli settlements.

The Foreign Minister  said: “We urge Israel to halt its settlement expansion, which is contrary to international law and promotes the effective annexation of the West Bank.”

The Israeli Higher Planning Committee of the Civil Administration has approved the building of 2,304 new housing units in Jude and Samaria (the West Bank.) It came after the Security Cabinet had approved construction permits for 715 Palestinian units in the West Bank’s Area C ;

The British Minister  said “much more needs to be done to fulfil the needs of the estimated 300,000 Palestinians” in Area C, which is under full Israeli security and civil control.

‘’The UK continues to urge the Government of Israel to develop improved mechanisms that allow Palestinians to build within Area C,” the statement said. It added : ‘’The U.K. remains seriously concerned by the continued demolition of Palestinian property by Israeli authorities, including in Wadi al Hummus on 22 July.”

The new British Ambassador to Israel Neil Wigan formally presented his credentials to Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday, saying :“We see Israel as a friend and even when there are disagreements, that friendship is very important to us.”

The President responded: “Our relations are strong and strategic, including in the field of counter-terrorism, and that is how they will remain. We see you as very good friends and let me assure you there will be no ‘Israexit’ from our bilateral relations.”

France also condemned the deIsraeli decision.

A statement from the French foreign ministry said : These decisions come amid the troubling acceleration of settlement building on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. As stated in UN Security Council Resolution 2334, these settlements are contrary to international law. This policy further heightens tensions on the ground and gravely undermines the conditions for a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians based on a two-state solution.’’

It said : ‘’In addition, France takes note of the announcement of 715 building permits for Palestinian housing units in Area C. It reaffirms the considerable needs of the Palestinian population living in that area, even though the vast majority of building permit applications have not been approved in recent years, and the demolition of Palestinian homes – illegal under international law – steadily continues on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.’’

France called on the Israeli authorities ‘’to abide by international law and to abandon any project that would ultimately jeopardize the two-state solution.’’

 

Share.

About Author

Leave A Reply