Thursday, November 05, 2015

Disgraceful response from Foreign Office to Hammond's anti-Israel stance

On 9 October I made a formal complaint to the Foreign Office following the appalling statement by the Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond in which he blamed Israel's 'occupation' and 'violence by Palestinians and Israeli settlers' for the multiple unprovoked terrorist attacks against Israeli kids and pensioners. I have now received the following response which I think is contemptible because not only does it seem to confirm Hammond's belief but it clearly tries to draw moral equivalence between Israelis defending themselves against violence on one hand and and their terrorist attackers on the other hand. And people still think Cameron is 'pro-Israel'? It might be in more polite and diplomatic language, but there is nothing in this that is much different to what Jeremy Corbyn says, and it is no surprise that the Palestinians carry on using violence when they are never held to account by governmenrs like the UK.
05 November 2015 
Dear Mr Davidson, 
Thank you for your email of 10 October to the Prime Minister about Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). This has been passed to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for a response. 
The Near East Department in the FCO has been asked to reply. As Tobias Ellwood, the FCO Minister responsible for our relations with the Middle East, said in his statement of 13 October and the Foreign Secretary said in his statement of 9 October, we are deeply concerned by the recent violence across the OPTs and Israel. We strongly condemn all acts of violence and all incitement to commit acts of violence. Since the start of the current violence we have spoken regularly to both the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli Government, urging them to use their influence to de-escalate the tensions. You have raised particular concerns about the response of the Palestinian Authority’s actions.

The UK has continually made clear in conversations with the Palestinian Authority that the best way to achieve a two-state solution is through negotiations. However, in order to achieve this, there must be an environment conductive to peace. At this current time our focus is for all parties to take the necessary action to deescalate current tensions across Israel and the OPTs. The Foreign Secretary raised the importance of this with President Abbas on 9 October and HM Consul General in Jerusalem has raised with Palestinian Chief Negotiator, Sa’eb Erekat, on 8 October as well as with Amal Jadou, Palestinian Assistant Minister for European Affairs, on 21 October. The context of the current violence is the enduring tragedy of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A just and lasting resolution that ends the occupation and delivers peace for both Israelis and Palestinians is long overdue. We look to all parties, including Israel, to show through policies and actions that their commitment to the two state solution is genuine.

Every Israeli and Palestinian has a right to live in peace and security. It is therefore vital that all parties and leaders take actions and use words which will encourage calm and decrease tensions. We will continue our longstanding policy of supporting a negotiated two state solution as the only way to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict once and for all. We 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

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