Conflict in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) May 2021

I appreciate how many constituents have written with regard to the  about the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs).

I share your concern at the violent escalations we have witnessed. The UK Government is urging all parties to de-escalate. As the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary have said, this cycle of violence must stop, and every effort must be made to avoid loss of life. My thoughts are with all those affected, especially the families of those civilians killed.

Following on from recent events in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, the UK has restated its position that evictions of Palestinians from their homes causes unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians, calls into question Israel's commitment to a viable two-state solution and, in all but the most exceptional of cases, are contrary to International Humanitarian Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention. The UK regularly makes clear its concerns about such evictions in East Jerusalem to the Israeli authorities and the Municipality of Jerusalem, both bilaterally and in co-operation with like-minded diplomatic partners. I join Ministers in calling for them to cease with immediate effect.

The UK is also clear that the violence against peaceful worshippers at the al-Aqsa mosque was unacceptable. Such attacks must stop. Jerusalem’s precious religious status quo is vital at all times, especially during festivals such as Ramadan. We encourage all parties to maintain calm, avoid provocation, and to ensure the safety and the security of the Haram Al Sharif / Temple Mount and all who worship there. The restoration of peace and security is in everyone’s interests.

I share Ministers unequivocal condemnation of the firing of rockets by Hamas and other terrorist groups at Jerusalem and locations in Israel. There is no justification for these indiscriminate attacks, and the UK fully supports Israel's legitimate right to defend its citizens against them.

It is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and make every effort to avoid civilian casualties. All possible steps must be taken to bring about a swift de-escalation of tensions, an end to violence and renewed efforts for a just solution between Palestinians and Israel, to prevent this cycle of loss of life occurring again.

The Foreign Secretary spoke to his Israeli counterpart on 11 May and the Palestinian Prime Minister on 12 May to reiterate the above points, and I know that ministers and British officials will continue to do so in all future representations as part of our longstanding efforts to facilitate peace and stability in the region.

Thank you for writing and I will continue to watch this situation very carefully.