On 27th July the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark, received written answers to three questions on Israel and Palestine.
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: HL6801 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what diplomatic engagement they have had with the Middle East Quartet since 31 January.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The Minister for the Middle East and North Africa met with the Office of the Quartet’s Head of Mission during a virtual visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territories on 6 June. The UK is committed to making progress towards a two-state solution. We believe that negotiations will only succeed when they are conducted between Israelis and Palestinians, supported by the international community. We continue to work closely with the Quartet and like-minded diplomatic partners advocating a two-state solution and encouraging a return to meaningful negotiations.
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: HL6800 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to encourage the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to work towards a lasting agreement based on a two-state solution.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The UK remains committed to achieving a two-state solution, based on 1967 lines with agreed land swaps, Jerusalem as the shared capital of both states, and a just, fair, agreed and realistic settlement for refugees. We continue to work closely with international partners advocating a two-state solution and encouraging a return to meaningful negotiations. The Foreign Secretary did so most recently in a meeting with the French Foreign Minister on 29 June and German Foreign Minister on 19 June. The Foreign Secretary also discussed the Middle East Peace Process and our opposition to the unilateral annexation of territory during calls with Alternate Israeli Prime Minister Gantz and Israeli Foreign Minister Ashkenazi. The Prime Minister has conveyed the UK’s opposition to unilateral annexation to Prime Minister Netanyahu on 6 July and encouraged President Abbas to find a means of restarting dialogue with Israel on 14 July.
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: HL6799 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of (1) the prospect for intra-Palestinian reconciliation, and (2) the likelihood of elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The UK views the Palestinian Authority (PA) as the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people. We are supportive of Hamas-Fatah reconciliation attempts, and of the PA returning to resume government functions in Gaza, helping to improve the dire humanitarian and economic situation and restore effective and accountable governance. Genuine and democratic national elections for all Palestinians are crucial to the establishment of a viable and sovereign Palestinian state. To this end, we call on all Palestinian factions to seek common ground and to work together to pursue a positive path towards democracy for the full benefit of the Palestinian people.