UK's PM Urges for Protecting Palestinian Civilians in Jenin

UK's PM Urges for Protecting Palestinian Civilians in Jenin By A Robin - July 05, 2023
Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says UK has repeatedly asked Israeli government to halt and reverse its policy on new settlements

Britain is urging Israel to “demonstrate restraint in its operation and for all parties to avoid further escalation in both the West Bank and Gaza,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Tuesday.

Responding to questions at parliament’s Liaison Committee, Sunak said the UK supports Israel’s right to defend itself but said “protection of civilians must be prioritized in any military operation.”

Sunak’s remarks came after a question by Alicia Kerns, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, who said she feared “we are on the cusp of the Gaza crisis of 2023.”

Asked whether the UK will bring up the illegal settlements issue to the UN Security Council as it took the presidency on July 3, Sunak said they will “continue to focus on highlighting what's happening in Ukraine, Russia's illegal invasion.”

Pressed further on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Sunak stated that the UK has said “settlements are illegal under international law, and we've said that they present an obstacle to peace and threaten the physical viability of a two state solution.”

“We've consistently engaged with Israel and … (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu a little while ago and we've repeatedly made clear to as well that we oppose any settlement expansion and we've asked the Israeli government to halt and reverse its policy,” he added.

On Monday, the Israeli army launched its largest military operation in Jenin in more than 20 years, killing at least 10 Palestinians and injuring more than 100 others, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

The Israeli offensive came amid rising tensions across the occupied West Bank in recent months amid repeated Israeli raids into Palestinian towns.

Nearly 190 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since the start of this year, according to the Health Ministry. At least 25 Israelis have also been killed in separate attacks during the same period.

Estimates indicate that about 700,000 Israeli settlers are living in 164 settlements and 116 outposts in the occupied West Bank.

Under international law, all Jewish settlements in the occupied territories are considered illegal.

By A Robin - July 05, 2023

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