I was deeply concerned when Boris Johnson yesterday welcomed President Trump’s self-declared ‘deal of the century’ as a basis for a settlement to the longstanding conflict between Israel and Palestine, and today I challenged his Middle East Minister, Andrew Murrison, on the issue in the Commons.
Drawing on my visit to the West Bank in 2017, leading a delegation from Sheffield, I highlighted the role of the illegal Israeli settlements in Palestine in undermining the hopes for a just and lasting settlement based on internationally recognised borders for the two cuontries. Trump’s plan legitimises the illegal settlements, which are scattered across Palestine, destroying its territorial integrity.
I have also joined 132 MPs and Peers from all parties in writing Boris Johnson to say that the plan “shows contempt for the aspirations and rights of the Palestinian people and international law, and provides no realistic basis for a return to negotiations” (read the full letter here). In his reply to my question today the Minister, echoing Johnson’s words and playing Donald Trump’s game, described the proposals as steps towards peace negotiations instead of recognising them as a barrier to meaningful talks and rejecting them completely. See our exchange below: