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Israel and Palestine: West Bank

House of Lords written question – answered on 24th July 2013.

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Photo of Baroness Tonge Baroness Tonge Independent Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions have been held with European partners concerning the political and social separation of East Jerusalem from the West Bank and whether there are plans to reverse that separation, in line with the recent Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs report.

Photo of Baroness Warsi Baroness Warsi Senior Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Jointly with the Department for Communities and Local Government), Senior Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Faith and Communities) (also in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

The UK has a longstanding position on Jerusalem: we consider East Jerusalem to be occupied territory and are clear that a solution to Jerusalem must be sought as a negotiated settlement, enabling Jerusalem to be a shared capital of the Israeli and Palestinian states. We have serious concerns about Israeli actions which separate East Jerusalem from the West Bank, including the route of the separation barrier, construction of illegal settlements, removal of residency rights and severe difficulties of access to Jerusalem for Palestinians from the West Bank or those residents of Jerusalem who live beyond the Separation Barrier. These actions have a significant economic, political, and social impact on Palestinians, are in many cases contrary to International Humanitarian Law and undermine the viability of the two state solution.

We regularly discuss these concerns with EU partners both in Brussels and Jerusalem. The Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions of May 2012 reiterated the EU’s deep concern about developments in East Jerusalem. We will continue to make clear these concerns to the Israel authorities and the Municipality of Jerusalem, both bilaterally and in co-operation with our EU partners.

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