Thank you for contacting me about the potential eviction of Palestinians from their homes in Silwan, East Jerusalem. I have written extensively about this topic in the past, and I feel passionate about ending violence in the region.
I am a firm supporter of Palestinian rights and an advocate for a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians.
The situation facing many Palestinians is dire and there are, unfortunately, huge barriers to achieving peace. These barriers include the demolition of homes and the eviction of Palestinians in the occupied territories, the construction of illegal settlements and the threat of annexation.
The eviction of Palestinians from their homes causes unnecessary suffering and calls into question the Israeli Government’s commitment to a viable two-state solution. They are also contrary to International Humanitarian Law in all but the most exceptional cases. I believe the UK Government should take up the concerns that have been raised about the situation in East Jerusalem with the Israeli authorities.
The UK Government has said that it has been monitoring the case of the Sumarin family; officials from the British Consulate-General regularly visit and attend related court hearings. I understand that Israel’s Supreme Court is to decide on the family’s appeal against eviction proceedings after seeking the view of the Attorney General, which was given to the court on 9 January 2022.
East Jerusalem has been illegally annexed – Israel is the occupying power, which creates obligations that the Israeli Government is not meeting. Israel must comply with international law. I believe the UK Government should make urgent representations to the Israeli Government to halt all evictions in East Jerusalem, change planning laws that discriminate against Palestinians and suspend the construction of all other settlements in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the West Bank immediately. We cannot allow actions that will set back the prospect of peace in the Middle East to go unaddressed.
There must also be a renewed focus on negotiating a two-state solution that ensures a viable and sovereign Palestinian state alongside a safe and secure Israel. For the UK Government’s part, I believe this should include an acceptance of the need to recognise Palestine as a state, as nearly 140 other countries have done.
I will continue to advocate for a negotiated, diplomatic settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that ensures a safe and secure Israel, alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state. There will not be a just and lasting peace until the occupation is brought to a permanent end and both Palestinians and Israelis enjoy security, dignity and human rights.