Press release

FCO Minister responds to developments in Israel and the OPTs

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

FCO Minister Hugh Robertson calls for steps to advance the peace process.

Commenting on recent developments in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Minister for the Middle East, Hugh Robertson, said:

Britain strongly supports the Secretary Kerry-led negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians to achieve a historic peace settlement. I warmly welcome the difficult decision by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Government to release 26 Palestinian prisoners on 1 January as part of the peace process. In the UK we know from our own experience how difficult such steps can be, but firmly believe they are important to achieving security and a lasting peace.

I am however deeply concerned by Israel’s decision to announce further settlement building in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. As we have repeatedly made clear, the UK condemns settlement activity, which is illegal under international law, undermines trust and threatens the viability of the two-state solution. We urge Israel not to proceed with the proposed settlement building.

Important progress has been made in recent months, and we encourage both sides to continue to show the courage and bold leadership needed to take the difficult steps towards peace. The UK stands ready to help.

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