BBLBIA has received a response from the FCO

The Near East Department of the FCO replies to BBLBIA

Report from Jeremy Havardi

07 February 2017

Dear Mr Havardi,

Thank you for your emails of 13 and 18 January to the Prime Minister, enclosing a letter, about the Paris Conference on the Middle East Peace Process.  These have been passed to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for a response.  The Near East Department of the FCO has been asked to reply.

The UK believes that bilateral negotiations, which take account of the legitimate concerns of both sides, offer the best path to peace.  We had particular reservations about the Paris conference on 15 January because it did not involve the governments of either Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and took place shortly before the change in US administrations.  The UK therefore attended under observer status and did not sign the joint communiqué.

The UK will continue to reject any efforts to de-legitimise or undermine Israel.  As the Prime Minister stated in her speech to the Conservative Friends of Israel in December, the UK remains one of Israel’s strongest friends.  As a true friend it is important that we stress that settlements are illegal and tarnish Israel’s international credibility.  But we are clear that settlements are far from the only problem in this conflict.  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.

We remain concerned about the ongoing tragedy of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and believe that a negotiated two-state solution is the only way to ensure that Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace.  I do not underestimate the challenges, but if both parties show bold leadership, peace is possible.  The UK is ready to do all it can to support this goal.

On behalf of the

Near East Department
Foreign and Commonwealth Office