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West Bank: Demolition and Humanitarian Aid

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN 185797, tabled on 22 April 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the finding by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs of a more than doubling of the donor-funded aid items targeted for demolition or confiscation by the Israeli authorities in the first quarter of 2021, compared with the monthly average in 2020, what additional steps he will take to deter further demolitions and confiscations of humanitarian aid in the West Bank.

Answered on

27 April 2021

The UK regularly raises the demolition of Palestinian property with the Government of Israel, including over the repeated confiscation and demolition of donor-funded assistance and structures. The Fourth Geneva Convention, which applies to all occupied territories, prohibits demolitions or forced evictions absent military necessity. The UK is clear that in all but the most exceptional of circumstances, demolitions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. The practice causes unnecessary suffering to Palestinians and is harmful to efforts to promote peace.

The UK urged the Government of Israel to end demolitions of property in the West Bank at the UN Security council on 25 March 2021. On the same day, the British Ambassador in Tel Aviv raised ongoing demolitions with the Israeli authorities in a meeting alongside like-minded partners. I called on Israel to stop demolitions on 5 February 2021 and raised my concerns about the demolitions of Palestinian homes and structures with the Israeli Ambassador on 29 October 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.

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