British Government’s Current Position: Forced evictions of Palestinians

Question by Ms Lyn Brown (Labour) on 12th May (UIN 657)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effect on Middle East security and stability of the (a) continued annexation by Israel of East Jerusalem, (b) application of policies by Israel to prevent construction of homes by Palestinians in East Jerusalem, (c) application of policies by Israel to evict Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem, and (d) application of policies by Israel to promote construction and possession of homes in East Jerusalem by Jewish settlers.

Answer from James Cleverly(Conservative) on 21st May 2021

Our concerns about evictions of Palestinians from their homes are long-standing and well-known. I [Middle East Minister James Cleverly] spoke to the Israeli Ambassador and to the Palestinian Head of Mission in London on the 11 May, to urge them to de-escalate, restore calm and to reiterate our position on this issue. I publicised on the 8 May outlining our concern over tensions in Jerusalem linked to the threatened eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah. We continue to urge Israel to cease such actions, which in all but the most exceptional cases are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. The Fourth Geneva Convention, which applies to all occupied territories, prohibits demolitions or forced evictions absent military necessity. The practice causes unnecessary suffering to Palestinians and is harmful to efforts to promote peace.

Question by Lord Oates (Lib Dem) on 4th March 2021 (HL13988)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the statement by Save the Children on 3 February that the “number of displaced Palestinian children is at a four-year high as demolitions in the West Bank continue”.

Answer from Lord Ahmad (Conservative) on 22nd March 2021

We are aware of the Save the Children statement on 3 February. Our Ambassador in Tel Aviv has raised the issue of ongoing demolitions with the Israeli Authorities, most recently in a meeting alongside like-minded partners on 25 February. The Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa called on Israel to stop demolitions on 5 February 2021 and raised his concerns about demolitions of Palestinian homes and structures with the Israeli Ambassador on 29 October 2020. UK officials from the British Consulate in Jerusalem have made regular visits to areas at risk of demolition and eviction to reiterate UK support for those communities. The UK is clear that in all but the most exceptional of circumstances, demolitions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. The practice causes unnecessary suffering to Palestinians, including Palestinian children, and is harmful to efforts to promote peace.

Question by Baroness Hussein-Ece (Lib Dem) on 23rd February (HL13592)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel about reports of the (1) attempted removal, and (2) confiscation of property, of the residents of Khirbet Humsahin by that government.

Answer from Lord Ahmad (Conservative) on 9th March 2021

The Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa called on Israel to stop demolitions in Humsa Al Baqai’a on 5 February 2021. The UK Ambassador joined the Ambassadors of European states on 25 February in a meeting with Israeli Authorities, urging the Government of Israel to cease demolitions and allow access of humanitarian support to the community in Humsa Al Baqai’a. At the UN Security Council on 26 February, the UK Permanent Representative called on Israel to allow the delivery of emergency humanitarian aid for those who have had their homes demolished or confiscated. We also joined European UN Security Council members in delivering a specific statement on this issue following the Middle East Peace Process session. Officials from the British Consulate General Jerusalem visited Humsa Al-Baqai’a on 6 November to reiterate UK support for the community.

Question by Stephen Farry (Alliance) on 23rd February 2021 (UIN 157337)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to the Israeli Government on reports of the Israeli Army allegedly seizing EU humanitarian aid intended for the Palestinian community of Humsa Al Bqai’a in the Jordan Valley.

Answer from James Cleverly on 3rd March 2021

I called on Israel to stop demolitions on 5 February 2021. I also raised our concern about demolitions with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 29 October 2020, and issued a statement outlining the UK’s concern about the demolitions of structures in Humsa Al-Baqai’a on 6 November 2020. Officials from the British Consulate General Jerusalem visited Humsa Al-Baqai’a on 6 November 2020 to reiterate UK support for the community. The UK provides funding to the West Bank Protection Consortium, which is coordinating with the Palestinian Red Cross and the United Nations to provide emergency shelter to the community of Humsa Al-Baqai’a, and determine the community’s long-term needs. UK senior officials raised demolitions with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 10 November 2020. The UK also urged the Government of Israel to end demolitions of property in the West Bank at the UN Security council on 21 December 2020.

We are focused on preventing demolitions from happening in the first place through our legal aid programme, which supports Bedouin communities and Palestinians facing demolition or home eviction in both the West Bank and East Jerusalem. We continue to urge the Government of Israel to develop improved mechanisms for zoning, planning and permitting in Area C for the benefit of the Palestinian population, including by facilitating local Palestinian participation in such processes.

Question by Baroness Tonge (Independent) on 18th January 2021 (HL12262)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact on East Jerusalem of reports that the government of Israel intends to displace the Palestinian community in that area and replace it with Israelis.

Answer from Lord Ahmad (Conservative) on 1st February 2021

We regularly make clear our concerns about evictions of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem to the Israeli authorities, both bilaterally and in co-operation with like-minded diplomatic partners. These practices cause unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians, call into question Israel’s commitment to a viable two-state solution and, in all but the most exceptional of cases, are contrary to International Humanitarian Law.

Question by Dr Philippa Whitford (Scottish National Party) on 20th January 2021 (UIN 140823)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he plans to make representations to the Government of Israel on the demolition or seizure of at least 114 EU-funded structures provided as humanitarian assistance to Palestinian communities in the West Bank.

Answer from James Cleverly on 25th January 2021

The UK is concerned by the continued demolitions of Palestinian property and infrastructure by Israeli authorities. In all but the most exceptional of circumstances demolitions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. The practice causes unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians and is harmful to the peace process.

The UK regularly raises demolitions with the Government of Israel. I raised my concerns about demolitions of Palestinian and humanitarian structures with the Israeli Ambassador on 29 October 2020, and the UK Ambassador to Israel outlined the UK’s position to the Israeli Authorities in Jerusalem on the same day. UK senior officials raised demolitions with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 10 November 2020. The UK also urged the Government of Israel to end demolitions of property in the West Bank at the UN Security council on 21 December 2020. UK officials from the British Consulate in Jerusalem have made regular visits to areas at risk of demolition and eviction to reiterate UK support for those communities, including to Khan al Ahmar on 20 November, Givat Hamatos on 22 October, the South Hebron Hills on 19 October, and Ras al Tin on 16 October. We are focused on preventing demolitions from happening in the first place through our legal aid programme, which supports Bedouin communities and Palestinians facing demolition or home eviction in both the West Bank and East Jerusalem. We continue to urge the Government of Israel to develop improved mechanisms for zoning, planning and permitting in Area C for the benefit of the Palestinian population, including by facilitating local Palestinian participation in such processes.

Question by Baroness Tonge (Independent) on 1st December 2020 (HL11000)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports that Palestinians living in Sheikh Jarrah are being evicted by the government of Israel; and what steps they are taking in response to any such assessment. (HL11000)

Answer by Lord Ahmad (Conservative) on 15th December 2020

We are seriously concerned by increasing rates of evictions and demolition of Palestinian property by the Israeli authorities. In all but the most exceptional of circumstances they are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. The Minister for the Middle East and North Africa raised our concern about demolition of Palestinian property, and eviction of Palestinians from their homes, with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 29 October, and the British Embassy in Tel Aviv raises this issue regularly with the Israeli authorities. On 25 November, the UK Consul General Jerusalem visited families at risk of eviction in Sheikh Jarrah, restating UK opposition to evictions of Palestinians from their homes. The UK is focused on preventing demolitions and evictions from happening in the first place through our legal aid programme, which supports Bedouin communities and Palestinians facing demolition or home eviction in both the West Bank and East Jerusalem. We continue to urge the Government of Israel to develop improved mechanisms for zoning, planning and permitting in Area C for the benefit of the Palestinian population, including by facilitating local Palestinian participation in such processes.

Question: by Baroness Tonge (Independent)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports that Israel’s Supreme Court is allowing the demolition of 60 buildings housing 500 Palestinian families in Silwan, East Jerusalem

Answer: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative) on 13th May 2019  (HL15442)

On 26 April the EU issued a statement, on behalf of the UK and other EU Member States, requesting that Israel reconsider the pending demolition orders in Silwan. We continue to be gravely concerned by the impact of demolitions and evictions on ordinary Palestinians and the impact this has on the viability of a future Palestinian state. Demolitions and evictions of Palestinians from their homes cause unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians; call into question Israel’s commitment to a viable two-state solution; and, in all but the most exceptional of cases, are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. We fund a number of projects to monitor and report on settlement expansion in East Jerusalem and the West Bank and to protect vulnerable Palestinian communities from the effects of settlement expansion.

Q Asked by Mrs Anne Main: (Conservative, St Albans) on: 18 December 2018

Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Israel: Palestinians, 203256

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Israeli counterpart on the Government of Israel (a) ending forcible transfer in its planning policies and (b) amending planning legislation to ensure planning and construction rights for Palestinian residents in the West Bank and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

A Answered by: Alistair Burt (Conservative) on 28 December 2018

​The UK is gravely concerned by Israeli proposals to relocate Palestinian and Bedouin populations, which the UN has said could constitute forcible transfer. We have been clear about our grave concerns with the Israeli authorities and we regularly raise the matter through our Embassy in Tel Aviv. We recognise that Palestinians face severe difficulty in securing building permissions for homes and infrastructure in East Jerusalem and Area C. We continue to urge the Israeli authorities to develop improved mechanisms for zoning, planning and permitting in Area C for the benefit of the Palestinian population, including by facilitating local Palestinian participation in such processes.

Q Asked by Baroness Tonge (Independent) on 27 November 2018

Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Jerusalem: Evictions. HL11868

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel about the number of evictions of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem to make way for Jewish settlers.

A Answered by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative) on 10 December 2018

We regularly make clear our serious concerns about the situation in East Jerusalem to the Israeli authorities and the Municipality of Jerusalem, both bilaterally and in co-operation with EU partners. These concerns include: the evictions of Palestinians and demolition of Palestinian property; the construction of illegal Israeli settlements; removal of residency rights from Palestinians; possible unilateral changes to the municipal borders; and severe difficulties of access to Jerusalem for Palestinians from the West Bank, or for those residents of Jerusalem who live beyond the Separation Barrier. The EU issued a statement on 24 November raising concerns over this issue.

Q Asked by Baroness Tonge (Independent) on 12 December 2018

Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Jerusalem: Evictions. HL12272

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel about plans to evict residents of the villages of Silwan and Batn al-Hawa in East Jerusalem following the decision by the Israeli High Court of Justice to refuse those residents’ petition and instead refer that petition to the Jerusalem Magistrates Court.

A Answered by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative) on 21 December 2018

We regularly make clear our serious concerns about the situation in East Jerusalem to the Israeli authorities, both bilaterally and in co-operation with EU partners. We supported an EU statement on 24 November raising concerns over recent developments which could lead to the eviction of Palestinians from Silwan. Officials from our Consulate-General in Jerusalem and Embassy in Tel Aviv routinely meet Palestinians at risk of eviction from their homes, most recently visiting families in the East Jerusalem neighbourhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Batn al-Hawa on 13 December.

Q Asked by Louise Haigh: (Labour, Sheffield, Heeley) on: 10 January 2019

Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Israel: West Bank. 207316

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his Israeli counterpart on the (a) forceable removal of shepherding families in Ibzik, in the Jordan Valley (b) destruction of those communities’ land by large-scale tank manoeuvres and (c) demolition of a school classroom serving those communities.

A Answered by: Alistair Burt (Conservative) on 18 January 2019

Whist we have not raised these specific issues, we regularly make clear our serious concerns about the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories to the Israeli authorities, both bilaterally and in co-operation with EU partners. These concerns include the evictions of Palestinians and demolition of Palestinian property, which cause unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians, calls into question Israel’s commitment to a viable two-state solution, and, in all but the most exceptional cases, are contrary to International Humanitarian Law.

This entry was posted in Annexation, Current Positions. Bookmark the permalink.