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MPs urge UK to recognise Palestine, boycott settlement products

September 25, 2020 at 4:24 pm

The British Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, James Cleverly [ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images]

Speaking during a House of Commons debate on settlements and annexation, UK Members of Parliament called on the government to immediately recognise the State of Palestine on the basis of 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the shared capital.

Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa James Cleverly said in parliament yesterday: “We desire a stable, secure and peaceful two-state solution.”

“A thriving Israel next door to a thriving Palestine based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, Jerusalem as a shared capital of both states, with fair, agreed and realistic settlements for refugees and we continue to believe a two-state solution is the only viable long-term solution for the area.”

He added: “There is an opportunity now and we have encouraged the Palestine Authority to engage with Israel and the United States, with its Arab neighbours and friends, with the UK to put an offer, a counteroffer on the table.”

Labour MP Stephen Kinnock said the UK Government should boycott items produced by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank.

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He said: “The Government must ban all products that originate from Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. Profiting from these products is tantamount to profiting from the proceeds of crime and it must stop.”

When we trade with these settlements we are essentially telling the world that international law does not matter and such trade legitimises and facilitates the existence and expansion of the settlements

Kinnock added.

He also criticised Israel’s “constant flouting of UN resolutions and the fourth Geneva convention that have undermined the rules-based order for decades and the international community can no longer just look the other way.”

Palestinian Ambassador to the UK Husam Zomlot told Wafa news agency he considered parliament’s session a clear message that that public opinion in the UK supports the Palestinian question and advocates the Palestinian people’s rights in line with international law.

Tory minister David Jones said the UK should recognise Palestine as a sovereign entity to progress two-state solution talks.

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He told MPs: “This House has already voted in 2014 to recognise Palestine’s statehood and I would suggest that now is the time for the British Government to confirm that recognition.”

“With Israel receiving its own recognition across the Arab world, the two-state talks would enjoy a fairer wind if the parties negotiating were sovereign entities, recognised by leading nations such as the UK with global influence.”

“The position of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has consistently been that British recognition of Palestine statehood will come when it best serves the objective of peace. That time is now.”