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I welcome the recent efforts by the Palestinian and Israeli leaderships to renew direct contacts. We have urged both sides to focus on dialogue, to avoid any steps that could undermine the prospects for peace and to work towards the resumption of direct negotiations.
We are strongly urging both sides to build on the current contacts, and we have discussed that with, among others, the new Israeli Deputy Prime Minister. Those contacts include the joint statement of
Much of the watching world is troubled by the thought that if there is continuing delay, there will be continuing illegal building of habitations by Israel in Palestine. Can the Foreign Secretary assure me that this issue will be a high priority for the Government, because with every year that passes, the chance of peace and justice in those two countries recedes?
I agree with my right hon. Friend, and he knows how regularly and vigorously we raise this issue. I have straightforwardly condemned recent announcements of settlement activity on occupied land. It is because of that activity that the opportunity for a two-state solution will slip away unless it is agreed in the not-too-distant future, so this remains one of the world’s most urgent and pressing issues.