View of the West Bank
View of the West Bank

Over the last few weeks, I have received hundreds of emails from constituents concerned about the annexation of Palestinian lands.

I am strongly opposed to this annexation and I share the deep concerns of my constituents about the plans which could begin as early as July. The land seizures that have already take place and the building of settlements on them are not only wrong but illegal.

This week’s statement on human rights sanctions was welcome. However, it is important that there is no safe haven for anyone who disregards fundamental human rights. If Israel pursues annexation, which violates international law, the Government must consider banning goods from illegal settlements.

Posted by Afzal Khan MP on Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The annexation proposals are contained with the power-sharing deal agreed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and political rival Benny Gantz on 20 April this year, against the backdrop of President Trump’s proposed “vision for peace” plan. The agreement states that while the new government will strive for peace and regional stability, plans to extend Israeli sovereignty to Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank could be put to a vote on 1 July. If passed, the move would incorporate up to 30% of the West Bank.

The Israeli Government’s intention to pursue this course of action, in direct contravention of international law, risks fundamentally undermining efforts to negotiate a peaceful two-state solution between Israel and Palestine. It also risks jeopardising longstanding peace treaties with neighbouring countries such as Egypt and Jordan, at a time of continued regional and global insecurity.

I believe a two-state solution is the only way to peacefully end the senseless cycle of violence and suffering in both Israel and Palestine.

The British Government cannot continue to be a passive observer. Our Government must use all of its diplomatic influence to prevent any annexation of the West Bank and continue to work constructively with all parties in pursuit of a peaceful resolution. Disappointingly, so far, our Government has been conspicuously absent from the global outrage being expressed about the potential annexation.

Earlier in May, I joined 127 colleagues from across the House of Commons in writing to the Prime Minister demanding the UK impose sanctions on Israel in the event of any annexation of occupied Palestinian territory. Just last week, I added my name to a letter of more than 1,000 parliamentarians from 25 countries raising concerns about the annexation proposals one week before they are due to begin.

Over the weekend, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, Lisa Nandy, rightly called for a ban on the import of goods from illegal settlements in the West Bank if the Israeli Government presses ahead with annexation plans.

We cannot allow actions that will set back the prospect of peace in the Middle East and undermine international law to go unaddressed, while the world’s focus is understandably focused on managing the coronavirus pandemic.

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