Dominic Raab mentions 'Occupied Palestinian Territories' in tweet
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Tuesday said he was due to visit the "Occupied Palestinian Territories", in a rare official recognition of Israel's military occupation of the West Bank.
The UK and most of the international community consider Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories captured in 1967 to be illegal under international law.
However, like other Western nations friendly to Israel, the UK has shied away from the use of the terms "occupied" and "occupation" in recent years.
"Just landed in Israel. I will meet with both senior leaders here and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories on how to make the recent ceasefire lasts. We must end the cycle of violence and make progress towards a lasting peace," Raab tweeted.
The foreign secretary's visit came as a fragile ceasefire holds between Israel and Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas, following Israel's 11-day bombardment of the Gaza Strip.
On Wednesday, Raab tweeted that he "discussed the flourishing UK & Israel relationship, the importance of a durable ceasefire in Gaza & the need to fight anti-Semitism" with Israeli Prime Minister Benajmin Netanyahu. He added that the UK " is committed to working with regional leaders to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict & forge lasting peace."
He then visited Ramallah, where he discussed "the need for all sides to respect the ceasefire in Israel and Gaza" with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Raab tweeted that he also "reaffirmed UK support for a two-state solution as the only way to bring sustainable peace."
Just landed in Israel. I will meet with both senior leaders here and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories on how to make the recent ceasefire lasts. We must end the cycle of violence and make progress towards a lasting peace pic.twitter.com/bghGe2UIwF— Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) May 25, 2021
The top UK diplomat's one-day visit followed that of US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.
Blinken pledged to rebuild relations with the Palestinians by reopening the US's consulate in Jerusalem, which was shut by the Trump administration, as well as by providing millions of dollars of aid for Gaza's reconstruction.
Israeli air strikes and artillery fire on Gaza killed 253 Palestinians, including 66 children, and wounded over 1,900 people in 11 days of conflict from May 10, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza.
Rocket and other fire from Gaza claimed 12 lives in Israel, including one child. Some 357 people in Israel have been wounded.