3 February 2017 - Christian Aid welcomes Theresa May’s willingness to discuss spiraling settlement activity with Benjamin Netanyahu, and highlight its role in undermining the faltering Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Mr. Netanyahu will meet the Prime Minister in Downing Street on Monday for talks that will include trade and the peace process.
The UK government has condemned the “growing trend” for further settlement units in the West Bank and supports UN resolutions declaring Israeli settlements “illegal”.
William Bell, Christian Aid’s Advocacy Officer for the Middle East said: “Growth in illegal settlements is at record levels so these talks are timely and of utmost importance. In the last two weeks, Israel has announced plans to build over 6,000 settler homes across the occupied West Bank and 2016 saw a record number of demolitions of Palestinian property.
“If the current trend continues, with its increasingly coercive environment against the Palestinian population, then the two-state solution will become nothing more than a political slogan rather than reality. Our experience, as an agency working closely with both Palestinians and Israelis, suggests that point is worryingly close.
“Together with the imminent Regularization Bill this is effectively annexing Palestinian land to Israel, Mrs. May must strongly oppose such moves which will further hinder the peace process.
“Settlements are only one aspect of this conflict, but they are indicative of an increasingly tense situation on the ground. If this goes unchallenged, it will continue to obstruct any hope of a peace process.
“Theresa May must seize this opportunity to press Prime Minister Netanyahu to heed international concern over increased settlement activity, to ensure accountability in working towards a just peace for both Israelis and Palestinians.”
For more information please contact Jo Rogers on firstname.lastname@example.org or 24-hour press duty phone: 07850 242950.
Notes to editors:
In the space of eleven days in January Israel announced plans to build 6050 new homes across the occupied West Bank. 2016 saw a record number of demolitions of Palestinian property, with UNOCHA recording 1,089 seizures of structures, displacing 1,593 Palestinians and affecting the livelihoods of another 7,101. These are the highest figures that OCHA has documented since records began in 2009. The first week of 2017 saw four times as many demolitions as the first week of 2016. .
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