The New Arab Logo

Breaking News
UK dismisses 'focus on Israel settlements' in peace process Open in fullscreen

The New Arab & agencies

UK dismisses 'focus on Israel settlements' in peace process

Theresa May said the UK believes settlements are illegal [Getty]

Date of publication: 30 December, 2016

Share this page:
  • 0

  • twitter
UK's Prime Minister Theresa May has said that despite settlement building on Palestinian land being illegal, it is not the only obstacle to peace.

Peace between Israel and the Palestinians cannot be brokered by focusing solely on "settlement construction", the UK government has said.

It follows a stern warning over settlement expansion by US Secretary of State John Kerry, sparking a souring of relations between Israel and Washington.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesperson said her government supports a two-state solution and believes the construction of settlements on Palestinian lands is illegal.

"But we are also clear that the settlements are far from the only problem in this conflict," the spokesperson said in a statement.  

"In particular, the people of Israel deserve to live free from the threat of terrorism, with which they have had to cope for too long," .

The comments from Downing Street come just a day after Kerry issued a stern warning to Israel in which he said building settlements threatens the country's future as a democracy.

Kerry accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government of allowing Israel to slide towards a "perpetual occupation".

Without referring to the secretary of state's comments, the UK government's comments appeared to criticise Kerry's speech. 

"We do not, therefore, believe that the way to negotiate peace is by focusing on only one issue, in this case the construction of settlements, when clearly the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians is so deeply complex," May's spokesperson said.

"And we do not believe that it is appropriate to attack the composition of the democratically-elected government of an ally. The government believes that negotiations will only succeed when they are conducted between the two parties, supported by the international community," they added.

The statement follows comments by Israel's prime minister who described Kerry's speech as biased against Israel and more focused on settlements than Palestinian violence.

"For over an hour, Kerry obsessively dealt with settlements and barely touched upon the root of the conflict - Palestinian opposition to a Jewish state in any boundaries."

The speech included sharp criticism of Israeli settlement building and came after last week's UN Security Council resolution calling for an end to such activity.

The US abstained at the Security Council, allowing the resolution to pass 14-0.

Settlements are built on land the Palestinians view as part of their future state, and are seen as illegal under international law.

The New ArabComments

Most Popular

Most Popular

    Read More