26th May 2021
Asked by The Lord Bishop of Southwark: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the statement by the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches of Jerusalem on 11 May that the violence in Jerusalem “violates the sanctity of the people of Jerusalem and of Jerusalem as the City of Peace”; and what plans they have to call on relevant parties (1) to halt further violence, and (2) to ensure the safety of worshippers. [HL192]
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The UK is clear that the violence against peaceful worshippers and must stop. Respect for the historic Status Quo at the Holy Sites in Jerusalem is important at all times. We encourage all parties to maintain calm, avoid provocation and uphold the Status Quo to ensure the safety and the security of the Al Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount and all who worship there. The UK welcomes the announcement of a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza on 20 May, which is an important step to ending the cycle of violence and loss of civilian life. The UK worked actively to urge the parties to work with mediators towards an immediate ceasefire. We fully supported Egyptian, Qatari and UN efforts, working closely with the US. The Foreign Secretary visited Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories on 25 and 26 May for talks with senior leaders following the ceasefire. During his visit the Foreign Secretary met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and reiterated the UK’s firm commitment to the two-state solution as the best way to permanently end the occupation, deliver Palestinian self-determination and preserve Israel’s Jewish and democratic identity.
Asked by The Lord Bishop of Southwark To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the Palestinian Authority about that Authority’s decision to postpone elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council. [HL193]
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: We are disappointed that elections in the Occupied Palestinian Territories have been postponed. The Palestinian people should be allowed to enjoy their democratic rights – and Israel must allow voting for Palestinians in East Jerusalem, in line with the Oslo Accords. We will continue to encourage the Palestinian leadership to work toward strong, inclusive, accountable and democratic institutions, based on respect for the rule of law and human rights. Elections are long overdue and we urge the swift setting of a new date.
27th May 2021
East Jerusalem families
Asked by The Lord Bishop of Southwark: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the government of Israel concerning the eviction of Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem. [HL240]
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: On 8 May Minister Cleverly communicated our concern over tensions in Jerusalem linked to the threatened eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah. We continue to urge Israel to cease such actions, which in all but the most exceptional cases are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. We consistently call for an immediate end to all actions that undermine the viability of the two-state solution, including terrorism, anti-Semitic incitement, settlement expansion, and the demolition of Palestinian property in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.