Today, I’ve joined 56 parliamentary colleagues from across both Houses of Parliament in writing to both the Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron and the Home Secretary James Cleverly MP, calling for the UK government to ban violent Israeli settlers from being able to enter the UK.  

Committing or inciting crimes of violence and intimidation against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank must be condemned, and such a decision would follow an announcement from the US Administration. 

The letter has been co-ordinated by the Council for Arab-British Understanding (Caabu), which works for a British Middle East policy that promotes conflict resolution, human rights, and civil society in the Arab world through informed debate and mutual understanding. There were many other Parliamentarians who expressed support for the letter but were not able to sign due to front bench duties and party positions.  

The text of the letter is below, and you can read more on the CAABU website here 



Rt Hon Lord Cameron, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs 

Rt Hon James Cleverly MP, Secretary of State for the Home Department 

13 December 2023 

Ban violent Israeli settlers and those who incite them from entry into the UK 

Following recent constructive exchanges in the House of Commons, we write to ask that Israeli settlers who commit or incite crimes of violence and intimidation against Palestinians in the West Bank should be barred from entry into the United Kingdom. There is good British precedent for such action. We believe that the case for British Government action is very strong. 

The US Administration has announced that it is banning entry to the USA by violent Israeli settlers it has identified. If the US has determined that these individuals are dangerous, surely our Government should do likewise and inform our European partners, urging them to take parallel action.  

Israel, as the occupying power in East Jerusalem, the rest of the West Bank and Gaza, has the sole responsibility for controlling the settlers, whose presence on occupied Palestinian land is itself illegal under international law. We express our grave concern not only that the Israeli army and police are ordered to protect the settlers only, and not the Palestinian people living under occupation, but that they have also been assisting Israeli settlers in attacks on Palestinian communities. All of this is directly contrary to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. 

In contrast to the way in which Israeli settlers enjoy a climate of impunity, the Israeli authorities have arrested over 3,000 West Bank Palestinians since the appalling Hamas attack of 7 October. This is often in the most arbitrary manner and without charge. One example among many is the case of Anas Abu Srour, arrested on 28 November and sentenced to six months’ administrative detention without charge or trial. He is the Executive Director of the Aida Youth Centre in the Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem. To our knowledge, he has committed no offence. We ask you to instruct HM Embassy Tel Aviv to raise his and other cases with the Israeli authorities as a matter of urgency. The Israeli law under which he is in administrative detention is in large part a restatement of Britain’s Palestine Mandate Defence (Emergency) Regulations, for which Britain carries responsibility. 

We welcome the Government’s contributions to the essential work of the West Bank Protection Consortium – but the Consortium needs additional resources from Britain to address the massive increase in settler violence and intimidation. It also needs robust, public Ministerial support for its work – quiet diplomacy having proved ineffective.  

We are glad that as Foreign Secretary you have expressed your concern to the Israeli Government over their conduct of the occupation in the West Bank – and that the present Home Secretary made clear that our Government will not deal with Itamar Ben Gvir.  

But expressing concern is not enough; Israel needs to heed your words or face serious consequences for its consistent failure to adhere to the international laws and conventions which it has signed and ratified. 

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