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Middle East

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN HL3934, tabled on 6 January 2015

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they are making to the government of Israel concerning (1) the removal of two military bases in the West Bank in order to allow for the expansion of existing settlements, (2) the Israeli air attack on a cement factory near Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip on 20 or 21 December, (3) the elimination of delays and full normal opening of the Tulkarm Crossing-point for Palestinians with permission to work in Israel, (4) approval for the construction of 243 houses on West Bank land illegally annexed to Jerusalem, and (5) Israeli naval vessels firing live ammunition at Palestinian fishermen off Gaza, damaging several boats.

Answered on

15 January 2015

While we have not raised these specific issues, we have repeatedly condemned Israel’s announcements to expand settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem. Officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv regularly bring up the issue of settlements with the Israeli National Security Adviser, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defence contacts. We are aware of an attack by the Israeli Defence Forces against “Hamas terror infrastructure” in the Khan Yunis area of southern Gaza after a rocket was fired into Israel from Gaza on 19 December. Our Ambassador discussed this matter with the Israeli Ministry of Defence. Officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv regularly meet with the Israeli authorities – including the Israeli Office for the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories/Ministry of Defence and the National Security Adviser - to urge them to ease restrictions on Gaza, including the movement of commercial goods, and persons from and to the Gaza Strip. Our Embassy in Tel Aviv is looking into the situation faced by Gazan fishermen and will consider Government action on this issue.