Israel and Palestine: West Bank

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

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Photo of Baroness Tonge Baroness Tonge Independent Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the alleged arson attack by Israeli settlers on the Zaid Bin Hareth Mosque on 19 June, what discussions they will hold with the Government of Israel concerning the role of the Israel Defence Forces in preventing crimes by settlers.

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

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my honourable friend Mr Burt issued a statement on 22 June condemning the act of arson and vandalism against the Zaid bin Hareth mosque in the West Bank village of Jaba on 18 June, commenting on the worrying trend of violence by extremist Israeli settlers, including the shooting of two Palestinians in May.

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.

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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