It is with utmost dismay that the Palestine Mission to the UK notes the upcoming visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to London and the just-signed 2030 “roadmap” for UK-Israel bilateral relations.
These developments mark a profound step backwards for chances of peace based on a two-state outcome.
“The 2030 agreement represents an abdication of the UK’s responsibilities under international law and the UK’s unique historic responsibility for the Palestinian issue,” said Ambassador Husam Zomlot.
The coalition government Mr Netanyahu heads, meanwhile, is not only proceeding at pace with settlement construction while overseeing a spike in settler terrorism against the Palestinian people. Senior ministers in his government – some of whom are avowed supremacists or convicted racists – even deny the very existence of the Palestinian people.
As such, “to reward Israel with expanded trade, technology, and security ties – as the 2030 document does – sends precisely the wrong message at precisely the wrong time,” said Dr Zomlot.
“The document effectively shields Israel by denouncing attempts to refer Israel to the International Court of Justice as an ‘inappropriate measure’ and denouncing what it defines as a ‘disproportionate focus’ on Israel at the UN,” Dr Zomlot said.
This leaves the Palestinian side with no recourse to international bodies. It leaves Israel free to pursue policies that have brought us to where we are: No end in sight to occupation, no accountability for Israel under international law and no progress toward a two-state outcome.
So regressive is this 2030 agreement and the warm welcome Mr Netanyahu is sure to receive in London, that it is time to ask whether the UK still supports a two-state outcome on 1967 boundaries, as is called for in international resolutions and as has been the British position for decades.
Or “has the UK given up on the two-state outcome along with the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination as called for under international law?” Dr Zomlot asked.
We ask for urgent clarification of the UK’s position.
If the UK still supports a two-state outcome, the time for talk and empty condemnation has passed. It is time for action. This should include recognition of the State of Palestine on 1967 boundaries and a commitment to the rights of Palestinian refugees.
London must also make clear that it does not welcome or give succour to extremists, whoever they are.
It the UK position has changed, we also ask for clarification.
“The Palestinian people have waited too long. We deserve freedom from oppression and to be treated equally under law alongside all other peoples,” Dr. Zomlot said.
The Holy Month of Ramadan is upon us. This year, it coincides with Easter and Passover. It behoves the UK government to act in the interests of peace for everyone, and not, in this holy season, encourage the extremists on the Israeli side who will only find succour and support in the 2030 document.