The British government seeks urgent progress on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The conflict matters to British national security, and we will take every opportunity to help promote peace in the Middle East. Our goal is a secure and universally recognised Israel living alongside a sovereign and viable Palestinian state, with Jerusalem the future capital of both states, and a fair settlement for refugees.
We call on the Government of Israel to freeze all settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israeli settlement activity is a major barrier to our pursuit of a lasting peace agreement in the Middle East. Settlements are not only illegal under international law and in direct contravention of Israel’s Roadmap commitments, but more practically they represent an attempt to create ‘facts on the ground’ which make a two-state solution harder to achieve.
Israel has every right to defend itself, but the UK believes that barriers are not the best way to achieve this in the 21st century. Where it is constructed outside of Green Line Israel the separation barrier is illegal both according to International and Israeli Law.
It is essential that there be unfettered access not only to meet the humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza, but to enable the reconstruction of homes and livelihoods and permit trade to take place.
The Palestinian economy, whether in Gaza or the West Bank, is an essential part of a viable Palestinian state which the UK hopes will one day live alongside Israel in peace and security.
The UK calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Staff Sergeant Gilad Shalit, abducted by Hamas on 25 June 2006. It is also vital that Hamas allows the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit Gilad immediately and ensure that he is in good health. His continued captivity without any ICRC access and with only very occasional, minimal contact with his family is unacceptable. Read the Foreign Secretary's 25 June statement on Gilad Shalit.
Jerusalem holds particular significance for many groups around the globe, especially the three Abrahamic faiths of Islam, Judaism and Christianity. A solution to Jerusalem must be sought as part of a negotiated Middle East peace settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and the solution must allow for all those people for whom Jerusalem means so much to access and enjoy it.
Although we accept de facto Israeli control of West Jerusalem, we consider East Jerusalem to be occupied territory. It is crucial that the parties involved come to an agreement whereby Jerusalem can be a shared capital of the Israeli and Palestinian States.
Attempts by Israel to alter the character or demography of East Jerusalem are unacceptable and extremely provocative. Settlements, as well as the evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem are illegal and deeply unhelpful to efforts to bring a lasting peace to the Middle East conflict.
The UK will continue to add to international calls for restraint and the avoidance of provocative actions from both sides in and around Jerusalem.
Recent tragic events have captured the world’s attention, but they should not be viewed in isolation. They arose from the unacceptable and unsustainable situation in Gaza, which is a cause of public concern here in the UK and around the world.
There are serious concerns about the conduct of both Israel and Hamas during the Gaza conflict.
The UK has a strong relationship with Israel, which allows frank and honest discussions. Although there is disagreement on some issues the friendship remains firm, co-operating on a number of issues that benefit both countries.
The UK is committed to the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.