British Government’s Current Position: The occupation of Palestinian land by Israel

Question by Baroness Tonge (Independent) on 23rd June 2020 (HL6097)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the views of people who live in the Palestinian Territories on the proposed annexation of parts of the West Bank by the government of Israel; and what steps they are taking to ensure that any such views are reflected in their policies towards the government of Israel’s proposals.

Answer from Lord Ahmad (Conservative) on 6th July 2020

Officials from our Consulate-General in Jerusalem engage regularly with a wide range of Palestinian individuals and communities across the entire West Bank, including in Area C. It has always been true that any peace settlement needs the support of both peoples. We urge the parties to find a means of restarting negotiations, and avoiding unilateral action. As the Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa outlined at the UN Security Council remote meeting on the Middle East Peace Process on 24 June, the UK position is clear: any unilateral moves towards annexation of parts of the West Bank by Israel would be damaging to efforts to restart peace negotiations and contrary to international law.

Question by Baroness Tonge (Independent) on 15th June 2020 (HL5730)

Palestinians: Health Services HL5730 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking, if any, to ensure that health services in Palestine have sufficient medical facilities and expertise in (1) the West Bank, and (2) Gaza, to enable those services to care for those with serious medical problems without the need to enter Israeli territory for treatment.

Answer from Lord Ahmad (Conservative) on 29th June 2020

The UK has pledged £764 million to support the global humanitarian response to COVID-19. We have delivered additional vital support in the Occupied Palestinian Territories by providing funding to the World Health Organization and UNICEF to purchase and co-ordinate the delivery of medical equipment, treat critical care patients, train frontline public health personnel and scale up laboratory testing capacity. Minister Cleverly also recently announced £20 million in new funding, which will help the Palestinian Authority support its health workers who have been on the frontline battling coronavirus and who help deliver life-saving medical services.

We also provided around £16 million in humanitarian assistance in 2019/20 to alleviate humanitarian and health needs in the OPTs. This included establishing a centralised surgical multi-disciplinary limb reconstruction unit, strengthening trauma care, enhancing the ambulance system, and training paramedics and frontline providers in Gaza. Our funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) also helps provide health services for around 3.5 million people in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Question by Baroness Tonge (Independent) on 8th April 2020

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Fairhead on 2 April (HL14807), what is their definition for the boundaries of (1) territories brought under Israeli administration since 1967, and (2) the Occupied Palestinian Territories. (HL15126)

Answer from Baroness Fairhead (Conservative) on 16th April 2019

It has been the position of the UK Government since 1967 that, in line with relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, the Occupied Palestinian Territories (the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza) are not lawfully part of the State of Israel.

The UK does not recognise Israeli settlements as part of Israel. The UK’s position on settlements is clear. They are illegal under international law, present an obstacle to peace, and threaten the physical viability of a two-state solution.

Question: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report by Safeguarding Health in Conflict and other international human rights and medical groups, Impunity Remains: 2018 Attacks on Health Care in 23 Countries in Conflict, published in May, that found that the Occupied Palestinian Territories experienced the highest number of attacks of those 23 countries on healthcare facilities, workers and vehicles in 2018(HL15860)

Answer: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative) Minister of State

We are concerned by the report on attacks on health workers and healthcare facilities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, in particular in Gaza. We regularly raise our concerns about the situation with the Israeli Government, pressing them on the need for a long-term strategy to improve humanitarian conditions. We are clear that medical staff and services should have the protection that allows them to do their jobs in safety. We are providing funding to UNICEF and the International Committee of the Red Cross to help improve the situation for healthcare in Gaza.

Q Asked by Lord Judd (Labour) Asked on: 08 May 2018

Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Occupied Territories: USA HL7620

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have held with the government of the United States on the decision no longer to refer to the West Bank and East Jerusalem as “occupied territories” in the United States State Department’s report, Israel and the Golan Heights 2017 Human Rights Report, published on 20 April, for the first time since the State Department began to issue Human Rights Reports in 1999; what is their assessment of the implications of this change for international law and United States policy; and whether they will re-affirm their own position on those territories and on Gaza.

A Answered by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative) Answered on: 22 May 2018

While we have not raised this specific issue with the US, the UK position remains clear. We consider that the level of control that Israel retains over the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza amounts to occupation under international law, Hence Israel’s presence is governed by the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, to which Israel is a state party. The UK is firmly committed to the promotion and protection of human rights and compliance with international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and we continue to call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law.

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

Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Israel: Palestinians. HL12379

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel about the actions of Israeli forces (1) entering Palestinian villages, refugee camps and towns during the night or early in the morning, and (2) responding to protests by using teargas and live ammunition.

A Answered by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative) 3 January 2019

We have repeatedly made clear to Israel our longstanding concerns about its conduct in its occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We remain concerned about the manner in which the Israel Defence Forces police non-violent protests and the border areas, including use of live ammunition.

Q Asked by Baroness Tonge (Independent) on 29 October 2018

Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Jerusalem: Palestinians. HL11106

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel regarding the banning of Palestinian flags in East Jerusalem.

A Answered by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative) 09 November 2018

While we have not raised this issue with the Israeli authorities, we recognise that freedom of expression and the right to peaceful protest are fundamental human rights. The UK is firmly committed to the promotion and protection of human rights and compliance with international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). We will continue to raise concerns with the Israeli Government on compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law in the context of Israel’s occupation of the OPTs.

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