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Israel

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 10th October 2005.

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Photo of Boris Johnson Boris Johnson Conservative, Henley

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the Israeli security wall.

Photo of Kim Howells Kim Howells Minister of State (Middle East), Foreign & Commonwealth Office

We fully recognise Israel's right to self-defence. A barrier is a reasonable way to achieve this. But the barrier's route should be on or behind the Green Line, and not on occupied territory. Construction of the barrier on Palestinian land is illegal.

On 15 September the Israeli High Court ordered the re-routing of the barrier around Alfei Menashe, a West Bank settlement near the Green Line, because of its damaging impact on Palestinian villagers in the area. This ruling will reduce the humanitarian impact of the barrier in that area. However, we continue to be concerned at the route of the barrier on occupied territory. The route is particularly damaging around Jerusalem, as this risks cutting the city off from the West Bank and dividing the West Bank in two.

We continue to raise our concerns over the barrier with the Israeli Government at all levels. Most recently I discussed this with Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and Housing Minister Isaac Herzog during my visit to Israel on the 28–29 September.

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