Occupied Territories: Housing

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 1st February 2012.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Leader of the Green Party

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Israeli Government following the demolition of the homes of Bedouins in Anata in the west bank on 23 January 2012.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

We are concerned at reports that Bedouin families were forcibly displaced from their homes at Anata on 23 January. Demolitions of Palestinian homes in the west bank are illegal and deeply unhelpful to efforts to bring a lasting peace to the middle east conflict.

I most recently raised concerns over plans to move west bank Bedouin communities during my visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories on 7-10 January. I visited the Bedouin community school at Khan al Ahmar to give profile to this issue and subsequently discussed it with Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon on 9 January. Our officials at the embassy in Tel Aviv regularly discuss our concerns with the Israeli authorities.

The Israeli authorities state that they are yet to finalise their plans and will consult fully with Bedouin communities before moving ahead. The UK continues to encourage the Israeli Government to carry through on this commitment, to comply fully with their obligations under international law and to ensure that any decision reached on the movement of Bedouin communities should be made with their full consent and not result in a forcible transfer.

Our officials at the British embassy in Tel Aviv are monitoring this situation closely. While they have not raised the specific issue of Anata with the Israeli authorities yet, they are planning to do so.

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