Barry Gardiner

Working Hard for Brent North

Israel-Palestine (UNSCR 2334)

UNSCR 2334 reaffirmed that "the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity" and represent "major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace". The resolution underlines that the UNSC "will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations" and further demands "that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem". UNSCR 2334 also "calls upon both parties.to observe calm and restraint, and to refrain from provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric, with the aim, inter alia, of de-escalating the situation on the ground, rebuilding trust and confidence, demonstrating through policies and actions a genuine commitment to the two-State solution, and creating the conditions necessary for promoting peace". The resolution also "calls for immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation and destruction", and recalls obligations on the Palestinian Authority Security Forces "to maintain effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantling terrorist capabilities". The resolution was passed by 14 votes to zero, with the US abstaining. The UK voted for the resolution. 

I share the frustration and disappointment expressed by many at the lack of progress on the Middle East peace process. I believe a two-state solution that recognises the importance of security and stability, and guarantees a viable and secure future for both Israelis and Palestinians, must remain the goal of the international community.

 However, a recent report by the Middle East Quartet expressed that continuing on the current course will make the prospect of two states living side by side in peace and security "increasingly remote". It is therefore essential that the United Kingdom continues to support dialogue and fully back all initiatives to keep the two-state solution alive.

 The UK supported UNSCR 2334 on 23 December 2016, which the British Ambassador to the UN described as “a clear reinforcement” of the view that a two-state solution remains the only viable route to a sustained peace. As you are aware, the resolution reaffirmed that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is illegal. While I believe that the policy of illegal settlement construction and expansion must cease, it is clear that all sides need to avoid acts that are harmful to the peace process.

 UNSCR 2334 calls for immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation. It also calls on all parties to observe calm and restraint, and to refrain from provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric. As such, I believe the Palestinian Authority must act decisively and take all steps within its capacity to stop incitement to violence and strengthen ongoing efforts to combat terrorism.

 I know from the many letters and e-mails I receive that there are strong views on this matter, and I can assure you that I will bear in mind the points you raise. I have written to the relevant department in government to relay the concerns of my constituents.

 

 The reply from the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State can be found here

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