Israeli settlements and United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334

Thank you for writing to me about Israeli settlements and United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334. Israel is a strategic ally of the UK, yet the Government has made it clear that it does not support the singling out of Israel, nor the politicisation of UN institutions by the Palestinians.

The UK Government policy remains clear and long-standing; that Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal under international law; an obstacle to peace; and makes for a two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, harder to achieve. That is why the UK supported Resolution 2334 at the UN on 23rd December. Government Ministers have consistently urged the Israeli authorities to cease all settlement building and to remove illegal outposts, and the Israeli authorities are well aware of the UK's long standing position on illegal settlements.

In a meeting this week with the Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister Theresa May restated the UK’s opposition to settlement building in occupied Palestinian territories. The meeting acknowledged the relationship between the UK and Israel and what more can be achieved in building a closer relationship. However, the UK’s support for a two-state solution, highlights the challenges to this situation and the need, therefore, to bolster our relationship with Israel in order to bring about a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Nevertheless, you are right to point out that settlements are far from the only problem in this conflict. To focus only on one issue is not the best way to negotiate peace. It is right therefore that the resolution also makes clear that the Palestinian Authority must maintain effective operations aimed to confront those engaged in terror and the dismantling of terrorist capabilities.

I understand there is a debate to be held on Thursday 9th February concerning the building of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Whilst I am unable to attend this debate due to prior parliamentary commitments, I will be sure to follow the debate, in light of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s recent visit, closely.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.