On 11th March 2019 Baroness Tonge asked the Government “what discussions they have had with the Government of Israel about the increase in settlement building in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I attend annually the Vatican-mandated Holy Land Coordination, as well as attending other things in the Holy Land. I shall be there in a week’s time with my curates. In the visit of the co-ordination group in 2017, we noted the injustice of the separation barrier built across Palestinian land in the Cremisan Valley and the creeping annexation of territory through settlement building. Will the Minister accept the denial of hope to the young people of Palestine that this taking of their land represents and reconsider the Government’s stand on delaying recognition of the state of Palestine in support of the two-state solution?
Baroness Goldie: I thank the right reverend Prelate for making a very important point. The situation he outlines is profoundly undesirable. That is why, as I have indicated, the United Kingdom is doing what it can to support both communities—the Palestinian Authority and the State of Israel—in trying to take forward a solution to what has been a challenging and anxious problem. On the question of recognition, we will recognise a Palestinian state at a time when it best serves the objectives of peace. Bilateral recognition in itself cannot, sadly, either end the occupation or achieve peace, but we believe that the work we are carrying out at the moment is an important contributor to helping both entities look to a future where peace might just be possible.