Supporting detail:

Making progress on the Middle East Peace Process

Gaza crisis

On 15 July, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond welcomed the Egyptian ceasefire initiative and urged parties in Gaza and Israel to take this opportunity to end hostilities.

The Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said:

I welcome Egypt’s ceasefire initiative. I pay tribute to the Egyptian government for their efforts and the leadership they have shown in attempting to broker a cessation of hostilities. I also welcome Israel’s acceptance in principle of the terms of the proposed ceasefire agreement, and the Palestinian Authority’s endorsement of the Egyptian initiative. I call on Hamas and all militant factions in Gaza to take this opportunity to cease hostilities, ending all rocket fire into Israel, so that the bloodshed on both sides can stop. A cessation of the violence will allow the opportunity to tackle the underlying causes of instability in the Gaza strip, without which the long-term security of both Israel and Gaza will not be secured.

For further information on the UK’s response to the Gaza crisis, see the following statements:

Middle East Peace Process

The search for Middle East Peace continues to be an urgent priority in 2014. This conflict matters to British national security, and to the security of the entire region, and we will take every opportunity to help promote a peaceful two-state solution.

We want to see a stable, prosperous Middle East with a sovereign and viable Palestinian State living in peace alongside a secure Israel at the heart of it.

Our goal is a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, resulting in a secure and universally recognised Israel living alongside a sovereign and viable Palestinian state, based on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem the future capital of both states, and a just, fair and agreed solution for refugees.

The UK will continue to do all it can to support and advance efforts for peace, including by working with the EU to support the parties in taking the difficult decisions necessary to resume serious dialogue. We do not underestimate the challenges but firmly believe that if both parties show bold leadership, peace is possible.

Settlements

We are concerned by developments that threaten the viability of the two-state solution. Changing circumstances, in particular the construction of settlements on occupied land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, mean that the two-state solution is slipping away.

Our position on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is clear: they are illegal under international law, an obstacle to peace and make a two-state solution harder to achieve. We consistently urge the Israeli authorities, including at the highest levels, to cease all settlement building, revoke previous announcements and to remove illegal outposts, as required under international law.

Supporting development in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs)

The Department for International Development (DFID) is helping to build Palestinian institutions and promote economic growth, so that any future state will be prosperous and an effective partner for peace.

For further information on DFID’s work in the OPTs, see World Priority: Supporting development in the OPTs.

International law obligations

We believe that Israel has legal obligations as an occupying power with respect to the Occupied Palestinian Territories under applicable international law and international humanitarian law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention.

We have a regular dialogue with the Government of Israel about the implementation of those obligations and raise our serious concerns regarding such issues as treatment of Palestinian prisoners, including children, demolitions of Palestinian property, restrictions on movement and access. More details can be found in the FCO’s annual human rights and democracy report.