Question by the Bishop of Southwark on 9th January 2023 (HL4594)
To ask His Majesty’s Government what representation they have made to the government of Israel to safeguard and protect religious minorities in that country following the desecration of graves at the Protestant Cemetery on Mount Zion, Jerusalem.
Answer from Lord Ahmad on 26th January 2023
As a defender of freedom of religion or belief for all, the UK urges respect for all burial and holy sites, which must be treated with dignity. The UK is committed to promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities and condemns all attacks on the right to freedom of religion or belief. Israel has made clear its commitment to freedom of religion and we are grateful for the Israeli authority’s swift condemnation of these acts. As Minister for the Middle East, I reinforced this message during a visit to a UK donor funded school facing demolition on 12 January, in Masafer Yatta.
Question by Baroness Janke (Lib Dem) on 23rd May 2022 (HL423)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of religious freedom for (1) Christians, and (2) Muslims, in Jerusalem, especially during Jewish festivals.
Answer from Lord Ahmad (Conservative) on 31st May 2022
The UK is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. The UK condemns all attacks on the right to freedom of religion or belief. Israel is a thriving democracy, and has made clear its commitment to freedom of religion. We encourage the Israeli Government to do all it can to uphold the values of equality for all enshrined in its laws.
Question by Ms Lyn Brown (Labour) on 12th May 2021 (HL622)
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect on the peace process of the entry into the Al-Aqsa Mosque by armed Israeli police on the 10 May 2021.
Answer from James Cleverly (Conservative) on 21st may 2021
The UK is clear that the violence against peaceful worshippers at the al-Aqsa mosque was unacceptable. Attacks on peaceful worshippers must stop. Respect for the historic Status Quo at the Holy Sites in Jerusalem is important at all times, especially during religious festivals such as Ramadan. We encourage all parties to maintain calm, avoid provocation and uphold the Status Quo to ensure the safety and the security of the Al Haram Al Sharif / Temple Mount and all who worship there.
Question from Baroness Tonge (Independent) on 14th December 2020 (HL11452)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports that an Israeli settler attacked Gethsemane Church in East Jerusalem; and what steps they are taking to protect Christian churches from any damage caused by Israeli settlers.
Answer by Lord Ahmad (Conservative) on 29th December 2020
UK Consul General Jerusalem visited the Church of All Nations in the Garden of Gethsemane on 7 December, following the attack on the church. The UK stands in solidarity with Christian communities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and condemns all attacks on freedom of religious belief. Holy sites in Jerusalem hold particular significance for many groups around the globe, especially the three Abrahamic faiths of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. We condemn all forms of violence, including against places of worship, and raise this with the authorities when necessary. We also condemn any incidence of violence by Israeli settlers.
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.
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.