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Israel and Palestine: West Bank

House of Lords written question – answered on 29th November 2011.

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Photo of Lord Hylton Lord Hylton Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government when they last made representations to the Government of Israel about the Yitz'har West Bank colony and the Bracha colony and their associated outposts; and with what result.

Photo of Lord Howell of Guildford Lord Howell of Guildford Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (International Energy Policy)

We regularly make clear that settlements, such as Yitzhar and Bracha, are illegal under international law and deeply unhelpful to efforts to bring a lasting peace to the Middle East conflict. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right honourable friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (My Hague), the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, my honourable friend Mr Burt and our ambassador in Tel Aviv have all raised the issue of settlements with the Israeli authorities. We have not made separate representations over these specific locations.

The Foreign Secretary most recently condemned settlement activity publicly in his statements of 2 and 9 November:

"Israel's announcement to accelerate the construction of 2,000 settlements housing units, in response to the successful Palestinian application for membership of UNESCO, is a serious blow to the quartet's efforts to restart peace negotiations. This settlement building programme is illegal under international law and is the latest in a series of provocative and unhelpful settlement announcements. I condemn the decision to accelerate such construction. ... We need to see steps towards peace, not actions that divide and isolate the parties further and undermine the prospects for negotiations". (2 November.)

"Israel's announcement last week that it would accelerate the construction of 2,000 settlement housing units was wrong and deeply counter-productive. That was the eighth announcement of settlement expansion in six months. ... We call on Israel to revoke ... those decisions". (9 November.)

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