I would like to provide the House with an update on the middle east peace process, following recent visits by myself and the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
The search for middle east peace remains an urgent global priority in 2013. At the start of this year we were clear about the overriding need for the United States, supported by the international community, to lead an effort to revitalise the peace process. The events of the Arab spring, particularly the threat posed by conflict in Syria, make the need for progress even more pressing. We therefore deeply appreciate the leadership which the US, and particularly Secretary John Kerry, are showing on this issue. Britain stands fully behind these efforts to revive the peace process. We remain in close contact with the United States. On
The Foreign Secretary visited Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories on 23-
The Foreign Secretary set out the UK’s commitment to seeing a negotiated two-state solution. We want to see a sovereign, viable and contiguous Palestinian state, based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, living in peace and security alongside a safe and secure Israel and their other neighbours in the region, with Jerusalem the shared capital of both states and a just, fair and agreed solution on refugees, and where both prosper and both enjoy privileged partnerships and enhanced trade relations with the EU.
The Foreign Secretary also underlined UK concern about Israeli settlement activity and the threat this poses to the two-state solution. He visited a Bedouin family in the E1 area of the west bank, where he heard about the impact of the Israeli occupation on vulnerable Palestinian communities, including the threat of house demolition and the issue of settler violence.
I subsequently visited Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories on 11-
Both the Foreign Secretary and I made it clear to our Israeli and Palestinian partners that maintaining the status quo is neither desirable, nor practicable. As Secretary Kerry has said, a stalemate today will not remain one tomorrow. We are running out of time to achieve a two-state solution as the situation on the ground continues to deteriorate. Yet any alternatives would be harder still. There is no such thing as a one-state “solution”, only a one-state reality, which would not fulfil the legitimate national aspirations of the peoples of either side.
The parties, and we, currently face a choice: either we move towards peace, with the strong support of the region and the wider international community, or we face an uncertain and dangerous future. This is why the Government will continue to do all we can to support US efforts. In this context, we will discuss specific steps the EU can take in support at the EU Foreign Affairs Council on