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UK Consul General visits West Bank communities affected by settlements

Dr. Alastair McPhaill visited northern Ramallah villages to see the impact of settlements on the local community.

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

olive planting

Dr. Alastair McPhail, British Consul General visited this week the villages of Turmsayyiah, Sinjil, Al Mghyyer, and Kusra to see the impact of settlements on the local community.

During his visit Dr. McPhail met representatives of the local councils to hear about the impact of settlements in the area. He then visited the agricultural lands surrounding the villages, saw the surrounding settlements and outposts, and met members of the community who explained the daily circumstances they live through. Dr. McPhail also planted an olive tree in front of Sinjil municipality and offered several olive tree saplings to local families.

The UK government is funding the Human Rights NGO “Yesh Din”, who work to support the local communities in these areas and offer the legal assistance needed to protect their land and properties.

Following the visit, Dr. McPhail said:

I was horrified today to hear about the impact of settlements on Palestinian villages. Settler violence against Palestinian communities and property is unacceptable and must stop. Restrictions on access to land are hugely damaging to Palestinian farmers seeking to make a living.

The UK’s policy on settlements is clear: they are illegal under international humanitarian law, an obstacle to peace and take us further away from a two state solution. The UK is providing practical support to these communities to protect their land and property, and will continue to raise the issue of settlements with the Israeli authorities. Today I presented olive trees to the families we visited, as a symbol of our hope that they will be able to access their land in peace.

Published 12 February 2015