Israel and Palestine: Two-State Solution

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th January 2018.

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Photo of Kelly Tolhurst Kelly Tolhurst Assistant Whip (HM Treasury) 12:00 am, 9th January 2018

What the Government’s policy is on a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

Our long-standing policy in support of a two-state solution is clear. We support a negotiated settlement leading to a safe and secure Israel living alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state, based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, Jerusalem as the shared capital of both states, and a just, fair, agreed and realistic settlement for refugees.

Photo of Kelly Tolhurst Kelly Tolhurst Assistant Whip (HM Treasury)

I am pleased my right hon. Friend agrees that a two-state solution is the best way forward for both parties, but the Israeli Justice Minister is recently on record as saying there is not, and never will be, a Palestine state. Will my right hon. Friend join me in expressing concern at the impact these comments have on the prospects for peace and outline how the UK can lead on engagement with those who hold this view?

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

Many statements are made on both sides about whether or not there will be a resolution to the issues between the Palestinians and Israelis, and the United Kingdom is not responsible for them. All the polling done in Israel and Palestine suggests people want a two-state solution. As I indicated before, we will continue to work for that and we hope those in the Palestinian areas and in Israel will also continue to work for the just peace they all deserve.

Photo of Wes Streeting Wes Streeting Labour, Ilford North

But surely the Minister must acknowledge that comments like those from the Israeli Government do not give the impression that they are serious about peace. Does he also agree that the calls by Hamas for acts of violence and rage against Israeli people in the wake of the relocation of the US embassy were wholly contemptible and should be thoroughly condemned by everyone in the House?

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

The danger and difficulty in making statements that are seen to be provocative can be seen in the responses of recent weeks. The United Kingdom is absolutely right to call on all sides not only to refrain from those provocations but to use the renewed interest now in the issues between Israel and the Palestinians as a pressure to push for peace, because that is the only thing that will deal with these issues.