I appreciate the concerns raise and can assure you that my ministerial colleagues are aware of the issues raised in the report. Indeed, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) are a human rights priority for the UK. As befits this, the UK repeatedly calls on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and has a regular dialogue with Israel on issues relating to the occupation.
The UK's position, which I support, is clear and longstanding. There should be a negotiated settlement leading to a safe and secure Israel living alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state, based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, Jerusalem as the shared capital of both states, and a fair and realistic settlement for refugees. HM Government consistently calls – both bilaterally and via the UN – for an immediate end to all actions that undermine the viability of the two-state solution. This includes many of those raised in the report in question.
On the issue of bilateral trade, HMG does not recognise the OPTs and settlements there as part of Israel. Goods from settlements are not covered by the UK-Israel Trade and Partnership Agreement and do not receive preferential tariff treatment.
HMG advises British businesses to bear in mind its view on the illegality of Israeli settlements in the OPTs under international law when considering their investments and activities in the region. Ultimately, it is a decision for an individual or company as to whether to operate in the settlements in the OPTs. HMG neither encourages nor supports such activity.
On sanctions, I do not speculate on potential future sanctions designations as to do so could undermine their effectiveness.
On arms, HMG takes its export control responsibilities extremely seriously. The UK operates one of the most robust export control regimes in the world and does not issue export licenses where there is a clear risk that the items might be used for a serious violation of international humanitarian law. I am assured that ministers continue to monitor the situation in Israel and the OPTs closely, and will take action to suspend, refuse or revoke licences – in line with the Strategic Export Licensing Criteria – if circumstances require.
On the International Criminal Court, ultimately, it is right that HMG respects the independence of the Court and the right of its officials to carry out their work without interference.
The UK remains committed to a just peace between a stable, democratic Palestinian State and Israel, and will continue to do all it can to bring about a more peaceful future for Israelis and Palestinians alike.
Finally, I welcome that there will be a Britain-Palestine APPG meeting on 1 March 2022. Unfortunately, i will be unable to attend this meeting due to prior Parliamentary commitments. However, i do recognise the importance of this issue.