Israel and Palestine: West Bank

House of Lords written question – answered on 4th July 2012.

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Photo of Lord Hylton Lord Hylton Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make representations to the Government of Israel about video footage captured by B'Tselem of violence in the West Bank involving settlers in the presence of Israel Defense Forces soldiers on 19 May.

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

We are increasingly concerned at the rise in violence by extremist Israeli settlers against ordinary Palestinians. We have regularly raised the issue of settler violence with the Israeli Government, calling on the Israeli authorities to prevent such acts and to ensure that any incidents are fully investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right honourable friend, the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) joined other European Union (EU) Foreign Ministers in issuing conclusions from the EU Foreign Affairs Council in May 2012, expressing "deep concern regarding settler extremism and incitement by settlers" and condemning "continuous settler violence and deliberate provocations against Palestinian civilians". The Foreign Affairs Council called on the Israeli Government to bring the perpetrators to justice and to comply with their obligations under international law. The UK issued a Ministerial Statement condemning the act of arson and vandalism against a mosque in the West Bank of Jaba on 18 June, commenting on the worrying trend of violence by extremist Israeli settlers, including the shooting of two Palestinians in May.

Our embassy in Tel Aviv most recently raised our concerns with the Israeli Defence Minister on 4 June 2012 and with the office of the Israeli Co-ordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. Our ambassador to Tel Aviv and Consul-General to Jerusalem have arranged a further meeting with the Co-ordinator, General Dangot, at which they will raise a range of issues, including settler violence.

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