We, the undersigned, share our deep concern at the threat of illegal Israeli annexation of any part of the occupied Palestinian West Bank. Unilateral annexation is a grave breach of international law, and a further obstacle to achieving equal rights and self-determination for Palestinians alongside Israelis. Annexation must not pass unchallenged, whether it be formal or de facto, through illegal settlements in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank.
We fully support our Parliamentary colleagues in Europe, the United States and Israel who have spoken out against annexation – particularly in the letter initiated in June 2020 by Avraham Burg, former Speaker of the Knesset, and signed by 1080 Parliamentarians across Europe. The letter states: “A lasting solution to the conflict must meet the legitimate aspirations and security needs and guarantee equal rights of both Israelis and Palestinians… Acquisition of territory by force has no place in 2020 and must have commensurate consequences”.
We note with approval the statements of European Union members and the United Kingdom that Israeli de jure annexation would be a violation of international law and not be recognised.
We strongly endorse Avraham Burg’s letter of February 2021, pointing to
“a reality of rapidly progressing de facto annexation, especially through accelerated settlement expansion and demolition of Palestinian structures”. Systematic de facto annexation is
“eliminating the possibility of a two-state solution and entrenching a one-state reality of unequal rights and perpetual conflict”. We reject this outcome, which is against the rights and wellbeing of us all – Israelis, Palestinians and Europeans.
In fulfilment of the right to self-determination of both the Palestinian and the Israeli peoples, we commend the decisive votes in national Parliaments in favour of recognition of the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel on pre-June 1967 borders, as a prerequisite for a comprehensive peace, ending the Occupation:
- United Kingdom – vote of the House of Commons, 13 October 2014
- Ireland – vote of the Seanad, 22 October 2014, and of the Dail, 10 December 2014
- Spain – vote of the Congress of Deputies, 18 November 2014
- France – vote of the Sénat, 11 December 2014, and of the Assemblée, 21 December 2014
- Luxembourg – vote of the Chamber of Deputies, 16 December 2014
- Belgium – vote of the House of Representatives, 5 February 2015.
This is a clear basis for further action by our Governments. We welcome the decision of the Government of Sweden on 30 October 2014 to recognise the state of Palestine alongside Israel.
We considered commensurate consequences for annexation of any kind – de jure or de facto. Israel’s international standing, already harmed by systematic illegal acts of settlement construction, will be destroyed by any formal act of annexation. Israel must not benefit economically from de jure or de facto annexation.
There is a ray of light in this dark landscape: we strongly encourage free and fair Palestinian elections across the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and urge our Governments to accept the outcome. We urge the resulting Palestinian Government to adopt the policy of non-violence.
We invite Parliamentarians in Europe and in the United States to work together to support free Palestinian elections, to avert annexation and to strengthen the prospect of Palestinian self-determination, with equal rights for the peoples of Israel and Palestine. We seek a secure, sovereign Israel alongside a secure, sovereign Palestine.
Julie Elliott MP, convener, European Parliamentarians for Israeli-Palestinian Equality
Baroness Tessa Blackstone
Crispin Blunt MP
Lord Cope of Berkeley
Layla Moran MP (Lib Dem Foreign Affairs spokesperson)
Baroness Shaista Sheehan
Tommy Sheppard MP
Andy Slaughter MP
Dr Philippa Whitford MP
Senator Frances Black
Yves Cruchten MP
Senator Gorka Elejabarrieta Diaz (EH Bildu – Basque Country)