Evictions, Demolitions & Settlements in OPTs (January 2023)

Thank you for contacting me about the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs).

The UK's position, which I support, is clear and longstanding. There should be a negotiated settlement leading to a safe and secure Israel living alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state, based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, with Jerusalem as the shared capital of both states, and a fair and realistic settlement for refugees. The UK Government consistently calls – both bilaterally and via the UN – for an immediate end to all actions that undermine the viability of the two-state solution.

This includes the eviction of Palestinians from their homes, the demolition of Palestinian property – homes, schools and so forth – and Israeli settlements in the OPTs. Indeed, the UK is clear that these actions cause unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians, call into question Israel's commitment to a viable two-state solution, and, in all but the most exceptional of cases, are contrary to international humanitarian law. The Fourth Geneva Convention, which applies to all occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, prohibits demolitions or forced evictions absent military necessity.

Settlement expansion is also particularly counterproductive in light of the normalisation agreements reached between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco in the last few years.

The UK repeatedly raises our opposition to these actions with the Israeli authorities, both bilaterally and in cooperation with like-minded diplomatic partners, including at a ministerial level. The UK also regularly makes our position clear on the world stage, including via the main organs of UN such as the Security Council, Human Rights Council and General Assembly.

The FCDO is aware of the decision by the Israeli Supreme Court on the Masafer Yatta eviction case and is monitoring the situation closely. The Minister for the Middle East met with Palestinian families affected by the ongoing demolition and eviction orders there during a visit to the OPTs and raised the UK's concerns with the Israeli Deputy in June.

I join Ministers in London and officials from the UK Embassy in Tel Aviv and at the UN in calling for evictions, demolitions and settlement expansion to cease with immediate effect. 

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Yours sincerely, 



Sally-Ann Hart MP.