Pressure grows in UK for ‘consequences’ to Israeli West Bank annexation

Recent protests in the West bank against Israel's plans to annex part of the occupied Palestinian territory. (AFP/FIle)
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Updated 28 June 2020

Pressure grows in UK for ‘consequences’ to Israeli West Bank annexation

  • Political and civil society leaders urge total ban on imports from illegal settlements

LONDON: The British government is coming under increasing pressure to outline the “meaningful consequences” it will enact in response to Israel’s planned annexation of parts of the West Bank.

Lisa Nandy, the opposition Labour Party’s foreign secretary, said the UK must ban imports of goods from illegal settlements if Israel moves forward with its plans.

The move, she said, would be a “major step” and require “courage that so far ministers have not been willing to show,” but “such a blatant breach of international law must have consequences.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel will “apply sovereignty” to 30 percent of the occupied West Bank as early as Wednesday, in a move widely seen as the final nail in the coffin for any future Palestinian state.

Lisa Nandy has called Israeli annexation of the West Bank a “shameful proposition.” (AFP/File)

In an interview with The Observer, Nandy said the proposal, “is an illegal act which will undermine the prospect of a peaceful two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, and has serious implications for the stability of the Middle East.

“It is a shameful proposition to which the UK cannot be a silent witness,” she added.

She urged “concrete action,” including “a ban on goods entering Britain from the illegal settlements of the West Bank.”

Civil society groups have also implored the British government to take meaningful steps against Israel.

A Christian Aid spokesperson said the UK should formally recognise the state of Palestine and “end all trade with illegal settlements” in response to annexation.

A coalition of UK-based humanitarian, religious, development and human rights organisations will issue a statement Monday urging the government to outline “clearly and publicly, what actual, meaningful consequences will result if Israel proceeds with its illegal annexation plans.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this month “strongly objected” to Israel’s plan and restated support for the two-state solution, but has thus far failed to outline clearly the steps the government will take in response to it.

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan described the Israeli plan as a “dangerous escalation.”

Last week the UN and the Arab League called on Israel to drop the plan.

Coronavirus: India expected to surpass US as worst-hit

Updated 59 min 3 sec ago

Coronavirus: India expected to surpass US as worst-hit

  • Over 60 percent of the active cases are concentrated in five of India’s 28 states

NEW DELHI: India has registered 92,605 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours and is expected to surpass the United States as the pandemic’s worst-hit country within weeks.
The Health Ministry on Sunday also reported 1,133 additional deaths for a total of 86,752.
Sunday’s surge raised the country’s virus tally to over 5.4 million. India, however, also has the highest number of recovered patients in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. Its recovery rate stands at about 80 percent.
Over 60 percent of the active cases are concentrated in five of India’s 28 states – Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has faced scathing criticism for its handling of the pandemic amid a contracting economy that left millions jobless.