Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes are weakening the capacity of the Palestinian people to withstand the impact of coronavirus, according to Britain’s Middle East Minister James Cleverly.
In his response to a question tabled by Labour MP Alex Cunningham about attacks by Jewish settlers and demolitions of Palestinian property by Israeli authorities, Cleverly also blasted the “culture of impunity” enjoyed by settlers in the West Bank.
The minister said diplomats had reiterated the UK’s concerns about “the continued demolition of Palestinian property by Israeli authorities and repeated incidents of settler violence” in a remote meeting of the UN Security Council on 20 May.
“Demolitions are contrary to international humanitarian law,” he said. “The practice causes unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians and weakens the capacity of Palestinians to withstand the impact of COVID-19.”
He added that Boris Johnson’s Government “condemns any incidence of violence by settlers against Palestinians” and “welcomes the efforts of Israeli authorities to address settler violence, urging them to thoroughly investigate every instance to bring those responsible to justice and end the culture of impunity”.
Cleverly called on both parties to “avoid any provocative action which might undermine the cooperation that is so critical” during the pandemic, adding: “We have also stressed the importance of the Israel security forces providing appropriate protection to the Palestinian civilian population.”