British Government’s Current Position: Freedom of worship in Israel, Jerusalem & the West Bank

Question by Sir John Hayes (Conservative) on 18th June 2020 (61423)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to help ensure that Israel enables Christians from all nations to (a) visit and (b) have access to Holy sites in Jerusalem.

Answer by James Cleverley (Conservative) on 26th June 2020

The holy sites of Jerusalem hold particular significance for many groups around the globe, especially the three Abrahamic faiths of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. The UK is committed to working with all parties to maintain calm, avoid provocation and uphold the Status Quo in order to ensure the safety and security of the holy sites and all who worship and visit there, including Christians from all nations. We continue to urge the Israeli and Palestinian leadership to avoid actions that make it more difficult to achieve a negotiated solution to the conflict.

Q Asked by Dr David Drew: (Stroud): [N] on: 03 December 2018

Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Jerusalem: Churches. 198167

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in the (a) Israeli Government and (b) US Administration on the protection of Christian sites of worship in Jerusalem.

A Answered by: Alistair Burt (Conservative) 06 December 2018

The UK recognises that Jerusalem holds particular significance for many groups, especially the three Abrahamic faiths of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Our Embassy in Tel Aviv and Consulate General in Jerusalem raise issues of religious freedom with the Israeli and Palestinian governments and are in contact with representatives of churches on a range of issues. We continue to encourage Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan as custodian of the holy sites in Jerusalem to do all they can to work together to uphold the status quo at all the holy sites in Jerusalem. We have not discussed this issue with the US Administration.

Q Asked by Baroness Tonge (Independent) on 17 December 2018

Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Palestinians: Religious Buildings. HL12380

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what support they will give to the Palestinian National Authority to protect holy sites, including the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron.

A Answered by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative) on 03 January 2019

The UK’s long standing position is that we support the Oslo Accords that set out a process for the gradual and incremental transfer of a range of responsibilities to the Palestinian Authority. We encourage Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan to do all they can to work together to avoid tensions and continue to uphold the status quo at the holy sites in Jerusalem and elsewhere. The Government attaches great importance to the holy sites and in the case of the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, I visited the mosque last year to both pay my respects, and also to establish how issues of access and maintenance were being addressed.

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