Middle East: Armed Conflict

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 27th June 2007.

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Photo of Richard Burden Richard Burden Labour, Birmingham, Northfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what new initiatives she has recently discussed with (a) the Government of Israel and (b) EU member states in relation to (i) Israeli activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and (ii) Israeli settlement building on the E1 plan and elsewhere in the West Bank.

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

The UK continues to discuss these issues regularly with the Government of Israel and international partners, including the EU.

The UK consistently makes clear its view that settlements are illegal under international law and that settlement activity is an obstacle to peace. The Roadmap is clear that Israel should freeze all settlement construction including the "natural growth" of existing settlements and dismantle all outposts built since 2001. Our ambassador in Tel Aviv last raised our concerns about settlement activity with Israeli Foreign Minister Livni on 28 May. We continue to make clear our objection to any settlement activity.

We are concerned by reports of Israeli construction work at El. The continuing process of establishing settlements is encircling East Jerusalem and breaking up Palestinian territorial contiguity throughout the West Bank. These practices fuel Palestinian anger, threaten to cut East Jerusalem off from the West Bank and undermine the prospect for a viable Palestinian state. We continue to call for Israel to meet its Roadmap commitments on settlements.

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