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UK should punish Israel annexation with 'economic sanctions', says House of Lords

Baroness Joyce Anelay chairs the House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 May, 2020

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Israel was the first country to secure a post-Brexit trade agreement with the UK, set to come into effect on January next year.

The UK should impose economic sanctions against Israel if it goes ahead with the planned to annexation of the West Bank, a House of Lords committee proposed on Thursday.

Joyce Anelay, chairwoman of the International Relations and Defence Committee, described the incoming Israeli unity government’s plan a "violation of international law" which would "jeopardise" the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

In a strongly-worded letter addressed to James Cleverly, the UK Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, Baroness Anelay referenced a committee report published three years earlier, according to Haaretz.

It holds that a "two-state outcome" remains the only way to achieve "an enduring peace that meet Israeli security needs and Palestinian aspirations for statehood and sovereignty".

At the same time, the report recognises that the dispute - "on its current trajectory" - is on the verge of moving into a phase where "the two-state solution becomes an impossibility".

It also advises that the British government "be more forthright in stating its views on these issues despite the view of the US administration”.

Baroness Anelay, a veteran Conservative party lawmaker then poses three questions to Cleverly.

She begins by demanding assurance that the UK’s opposition to any unilateral Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories is unchanged.

This is followed by a request for clarification on precisely which concrete steps the UK government would take to bring Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table.

The final question is arguably the most significant: "..if Israel does proceed with its planned annexation, what would be the consequences for its preferential access to the UK market, as set out in the UK-Israel trade and partnership agreement?"

"How would the UK distinguish between legal and illegal products in order to provide preferential access only for legal Israeli exports to the UK?" she asks.

Israel was the first country to secure a post-Brexit trade agreement with the UK, set to take effect on January next year, according to World Israel News.

The letter from the House of Lords committee follows a call earlier this month by 130 MPs, urging Prime Minister Boris Johnson to impose economic sanctions against Israel, for its plans to annex large swathes of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley.

Agencies contributed to this report.

Read also: EU countries considering sanctions if Israel annexes occupied West Bank

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