Bedouin Villages May 2016

Thank you for contacting me recently regarding the planned demolition of Bedouin villages [and the related campaign by Palestine Solidarity Campaign].

I recognise the concerns that have been raised about the proposed demolition of the villages of Susiya and Um al-Hiran by a number of organisations and, indeed, that there has been a recent escalation in the number of demolitions taking place across the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

My colleague the Shadow Foreign Secretary has raised the planned demolitions of the villages of Susiya and Um al-Hiran with the Foreign Secretary recently, and the Foreign Secretary has confirmed that the UK Embassy in Tel Aviv has raised concerns with the Israeli Government on the issue of demolitions. I know that the Foreign Secretary has also stressed the importance of resolutions to these matters being consistent with Israel's commitments under international law.

The demolition of Palestinian villages inflicts unnecessary suffering on ordinary Palestinians, and the expansion of Israeli settlements on occupied land on the Palestinian West Bank are wrong and illegal. Moreover, they represent a real threat to the creation of two states as a way of ending the conflict and for this to happen there needs to be a peace process.

I share the frustration, anger and disappointment expressed by many at the lack of progress on the Middle East peace process, and the daily confrontations that occur in the Occupied Palestinian Territories reminds us of the urgent need to find a negotiated two-state solution.

I know from the many letters and e-mails I have received that there are very strong feelings on this issue. I agree that every effort must be made to return both sides to meaningful negotiations, and I can assure you that I will continue to press the UK Government on this.

Thank you once again for writing to me and for sharing your views.