More than 120 British politicians have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging the government to warn Israel annexation of occupied Palestinian territory could lead to the imposition of sanctions.
The cross-party group of politicians, including MPs, former cabinet members and senior diplomats, demanded the government toughen up its opposition to Israeli annexation plans and publicly warn Israel its actions “will have severe consequences including sanctions”.
Israel’s new coalition agreement includes plans to annex large areas of the occupied West Bank and has drawn international condemnation.
In September last year, the UK government said the unilateral annexation would constitute a “serious breach of international law”.
The Israeli plans would be a “mortal blow to chances of peace between Israelis and Palestinians based on any viable two-state solution,” the group said.
The letter noted that Britain responded to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 “quite properly” and with “appropriate measures, including robust sanctions”.
The 127 signatories to the letter, sent to Mr Johnson and the country’s foreign minister, Dominic Raab, included Lord Patten, former Conservative Party chairman and last Governor of Hong Kong, and the leader of the opposition Liberal Democratic party, Sir Ed Davey, and the former international development minister, Andrew Mitchell.
MP Stephen Kinnock, who chairs a cross party parliamentary group on Palestine, said Israeli annexation plans “would be the final nail in the coffin of the two-state solution”.
“If the prime minister and foreign secretary are genuinely committed to upholding the international rules-based order, then they must now make it clear to the Israeli government that if annexation goes ahead then the British government will have no choice but to impose sanctions,” he said.
“This is a rubicon moment for Israel, for Palestine, and for the international community,” he added. “The British government must act, because failure to do so would truly be a betrayal of our duty to stand up for human rights, peace, justice and the rule of law.”
Layla Moran, who became Britain’s first MP of Palestinian descent when she was elected in the 2017 general election, said: “The UK has a proud history of not just abiding by, but shaping the international law-based order.
“I would urge the Government to make a clear and unequivocal statement making clear that it is against these illegal moves as soon as possible.”
Updated: May 2, 2020 04:02 AM