Jeremy Corbyn has urged Boris Johnson to stick to established British foreign policy after an ambiguous response from Downing Street to Donald Trump’s Middle East peace blueprint, unveiled last week.
The Labour Party leader challenged the prime minister not to support “a fundamental breach of the international legal order,” saying UK statements “give the impression that your government is prepared to depart from important positions of principle”.
Trump’s deal – rejected by the Arab world, the Palestinians and the European Union, but welcomed by Benjamin Netanyahu – envisages the annexation of all Jewish settlements in the West Bank, as well as the Jordan Valley.
“The settlements constructed by Israel in the occupied West Bank are illegal under international law,” wrote Corbyn in a letter to Johnson this week.
“Any annexation of those settlements by Israel would represent a fundamental breach of the international legal order.”
The Labour leader asked for an “urgent” response highlighting “the gravity of the situation facing the Palestinian people,” since the Israeli government has said it intends to press ahead with annexation.
Those vying to replace Corbyn as Labour leader lined up to criticise the deal last week. Rebecca Long-Bailey said it looked “nothing like a peace plan” and would only “undermine Palestinian rights” whereas Sir Keir Starmer called it a “farce,” saying it was “inconsistent with international law and human rights protections”.
Likewise Lisa Nandy said it “tramples on Palestine’s self-determination,” while Emily Thornberry called it “a monstrosity and a guarantee that the next generation of Palestinian and Israeli children, like so many before them, will grow up knowing nothing but fear, violence and division”.