Demolition of Palestinian Villages December 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 Government has called on the Israeli authorities and Bedouin community to work together to find a solution that meets the needs and respects the rights of the people affected, including a robust planning process that adequately consults and addresses the needs of Israel's Bedouin communities.

While I know that the demolition activity of Um al-Hiran planned for 22 November did not take place on that day, the threat of demolition remains. I hope that the Government will, therefore, continue to raise these matters with the Israeli Government. 

More widely, I strongly believe that a negotiated two-state solution that recognises the importance of security and stability, and guarantees a viable future for both Palestinians and Israelis, must remain the goal of the international community. This is why all sides need to avoid acts that are harmful to the peace process and could pose a threat to the creation of two states as a way of ending the ongoing conflict.

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