Demolition of Palestinian homes and Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs)

The UK's position, which I support, is clear and longstanding.There should be a negotiated settlement leading to a safe and secure Israel living alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state, based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, Jerusalem as the shared capital of both states, and a fair and realistic settlement for refugees. The UK Government consistently calls – both bilaterally and via the UN – for an immediate end to all actions that undermine the viability of the two-state solution.

This includes the demolition of Palestinian homes and Israeli settlements in the OPTs. Indeed, the UK is clear that these actions cause unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians, call into question Israel's commitment to a viable two-state solution, and, in all but the most exceptional of cases, are contrary to International Law. Settlement expansion is also counterproductive in light of the normalisation agreements reached between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. I join ministers in London and officials from the UK Embassy in Tel Aviv and at the UN in calling for both of these actions to cease with immediate effect.

On the issue of bilateral trade, the UK does not recognise the OPTs and settlements there as part of Israel. The UK Government neither encourages nor offers support to individuals or companies who operate in settlements in the OPTs. Goods from settlements are not covered by the UK-Israel Trade and Partnership Agreement and do not receive preferential tariff treatment.

The UK Government advises British businesses to bear in mind its view on the illegality of Israeli settlements in the OPTs under international law when considering their investments and activities in the region. Ultimately, it is a decision for an individual or company as to whether to operate in the settlements in the OPTs. The UK Government neither encourages nor supports such activity.

Finally, the UK Government takes its export control responsibilities extremely seriously and operates one of the most robust export control regimes in the world. All licence applications are rigorously assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Strategic Export Licensing Criteria, based on the most up-to-date information and analysis available. The Government will not grant any export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Criteria.

Ministers continue to monitor the situation in Israel and the OPTs closely and will take action to suspend, refuse or revoke licences – in line with the Criteria – if circumstances require.