Pro-Palestine demonstrators in London hold placards during a protest against Israel's human rights violations, UK on 15 May 2018 [Yunus Dalgic/Anadolu Agency]
A number of British politicians have called for sanctions against Israel if it goes ahead with its plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, emphasizing that the move is illegal under international law.
In a letter organized by the Council for Arab-British Understanding (Caabu) late on Friday, 127 current and former MPs from across the political spectrum expressed their outrage at Israel’s West Bank annexation plan.
They urged British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to make it clear that annexation is illegal under international law and “will have severe consequences including sanctions”.
“International law is crystal clear. The acquisition of territory through war is prohibited,” the letter said.
This came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set July 1st for the start of cabinet discussions on extending Israeli appropriation to settlements in the West Bank and annexing the Jordan Valley.
The letter by the British politicians described annexing West Bank as a “mortal blow” to peace efforts and the so-called two-state solution.
Israel, they also said, is taking advantage of the spread of the new coronavirus to “implement this egregious plan”.
The letter said the international community is “duty-bound” to protect Palestinians under the occupation.
“If we are to prevent other states with territorial ambitions from copying Israeli illegal behavior, the UK must take a lead in standing up to this aggression,” it said.
Signatories included Lord Chris Patten, the former chair of the Conservative Party; Sir Edward Davey, the leader of Liberal Democrats, and Baroness Helena Kennedy.
More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.