To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he plans to take to tackle the (a) increase in the demolition of Palestinian property and (b) subsequent displacement of 524 Palestinian children in 2020.
25 January 2021
The UK is concerned by the continued demolitions of Palestinian property and infrastructure by Israeli authorities. In all but the most exceptional of circumstances demolitions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. The practice causes unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians and is harmful to the peace process.
The UK regularly raises demolitions with the Government of Israel. I raised my concerns about demolitions of Palestinian and humanitarian structures with the Israeli Ambassador on 29 October 2020, and the UK Ambassador to Israel outlined the UK's position to the Israeli Authorities in Jerusalem on the same day. UK senior officials raised demolitions with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 10 November 2020. The UK also urged the Government of Israel to end demolitions of property in the West Bank at the UN Security council on 21 December 2020. UK officials from the British Consulate in Jerusalem have made regular visits to areas at risk of demolition and eviction to reiterate UK support for those communities, including to Khan al Ahmar on 20 November, Givat Hamatos on 22 October, the South Hebron Hills on 19 October, and Ras al Tin on 16 October. We are focused on preventing demolitions from happening in the first place through our legal aid programme, which supports Bedouin communities and Palestinians facing demolition or home eviction in both the West Bank and East Jerusalem. We continue to urge the Government of Israel to develop improved mechanisms for zoning, planning and permitting in Area C for the benefit of the Palestinian population, including by facilitating local Palestinian participation in such processes.