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14/03/2011
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Global issues

Middle East Peace Process


The British Government is very concerned that peace talks have stalled and calls on the parties to find a way back to negotiations as soon as possible.  

We believe there is an urgent need to make progress on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before the window to such a solution closes. The British Government is engaged energetically with the Israelis, Palestinians, the US and the EU on this issue.

The recent tensions in the Middle East underline this need for urgency and highlight the risks of setting aside work towards resolution of this conflict which has plagued generations in Israel, the OPTs and the region.

Unless decisive leadership is shown and bold decisions taken, the two state solution in the Middle East is going to get steadily more difficult and within a few years may become impossible as facts on the ground change. That would leave us with decades of potential conflict and even deeper difficulties in the Middle East.

Clearly this is not in the interests of the Israelis, the Palestinians or the wider region. It is not in UK interests either. We want to see stable, prosperous Middle East with a sovereign and viable Palestinian State living in peace alongside a secure Israel at the heart of it.

The conflict matters to British national security, and we will take every opportunity to help promote peace in the Middle East. Our goal is a secure and universally recognised Israel living alongside a sovereign and viable Palestinian state, based on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem the future capital of both states, and a fair settlement for refugees. The Foreign Secretary made clear his support for this goal in his visit to the region in early November 2010.

We want the new generation of Palestinians to grow up in hope, not despair, believing in a peaceful settlement with Israel; not impoverished and susceptible to terrorist recruitment. We want the next generation of Israelis to live free from the fear of rocket fire and able to enjoy peaceful relations with their Arab neighbours.

Jerusalem – the key to Middle East Peace

Jerusalem (JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Jerusalem holds particular significance for many groups around the globe, especially the three Abrahamic faiths of Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

We support a peace settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians which fulfills the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem, the safeguarding of its status for people of all faiths around the world, enabling it to serve as the shared capital of two states.

Although we accept de facto Israeli control of West Jerusalem, we consider East Jerusalem to be occupied territory. Attempts by Israel to alter the character or demography of East Jerusalem are therefore unacceptable and extremely provocative. 

Settlements, as well as the evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem are illegal and deeply unhelpful to efforts to bring a lasting peace to the Middle East conflict.

It is crucial that the parties involved come to an agreement whereby Jerusalem can be a shared capital of the Israeli and Palestinian States.


Gaza

Gaza (SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)

Recent tragic events have captured the world’s attention, but they should not be viewed in isolation.  They arose from the unacceptable and unsustainable situation in Gaza, which is a cause of public concern here in the UK and around the world.

Concerns over conflict

UN investigator Richard Goldstone (FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

There are serious concerns about the conduct of both Israel and Hamas during the Gaza conflict.

Israel and the international community

Jerusalem (JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

The UK has a strong relationship with Israel, which allows frank and honest discussions. Although there is disagreement on some issues the friendship remains firm, co-operating on a number of issues that benefit both countries.

The Palestinians

Palestinian flag (MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)

The UK is committed to the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.

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