A Committee within the British House of Lords is urging Number 10 to stop granting Israel preferential access to UK markets if the planned annexation of the West Bank, as laid out in the incoming unity government’s coalition agreement, goes ahead.
The issue of the preferential treatment granted to Israel was raised in a letter to the Minister of State James Cleverly by Baroness Joyce Anelay, Chairwoman of The House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee.
Anelay, a former Minister of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, is reported in Haaretz of having argued that annexation of the occupied territory is a violation of international law and that such a move by Israel should be met with a stiff response from the UK, namely by cancelling Israel’s preferential access to the UK market.
Cleverly was asked to clarify if Britain’s position on the conflict had remained the same with the two-state solution remaining the official government policy. Anelay warned that the conflict was “on the verge of moving into a phase where the two-state solution becomes an impossibility and is considered no longer viable by either side.”
The Conservative government was asked to confirm Britain’s position and that it will not recognise any changes to the status quo. Number 10 was also urged to take a greater role because of the lack of American leadership on the matter.
“The balance of power in the delivery of peace lies with Israel,” said Anelay. “If Israel continues to reduce the possibilities of a two-state solution, the U.K. should be ready to support UNSC resolutions condemning those actions in no uncertain terms.”
Recognising a Palestinian state, insisted Anelay, would demonstrate Britain’s commitment to the two-state solution.
The letter from the British House of Lords is the second such move calling on the UK to impose sanctions on Israel. In a similar move earlier this month, 130 British members of parliament urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to impose economic sanctions on Israel.
France is also pushing for a tough EU response to any West Bank annexation.