Labour leader Keir Starmer has opposed Israel’s plans to annex parts of the West Bank, saying that it could be detrimental to security in the region.
But the Labour leader would not be drawn on whether the UK should sanction Israel if it does go ahead with the move, says the Jewish News.
Starmer made the comment after speaking to members of the public in Barnet over Zoom on Wednesday afternoon.
In a call with reporters after the Q&A session, Starmer told Jewish News: “I don’t agree with annexation and I don’t think it’s good for security in the region, and I think it’s very important that we say that.
“Whether sanctions follow is another matter but at the moment let’s resolve this in the proper way. But this is not good for security in the region. That should be a paramount consideration.”
When pressed further, he added: “There needs to be a strong working relationship where we are able to exchange views frankly, as you would with an ally and on some of these issues, a frank exchange is what we most need, I think.”
“Annexation presents the best chance for peace”
Colonel Richard Kemp along with Lord Simon Reading and film-maker Hugh Kitson wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week urging the UK to recognise Israel’s plans to annex parts of the West Bank as Johnson wrote to MPs saying that the UK was opposed to such plans. It came after 126 MPs and Peers expressed “outrage” at Israel’s plans to annex and called on the UK to “sanction” the Jewish state for what the MPs wrongly define as an “illegal action”.
Col Kemp wrote that he has drawn on his experience of working for the Joint Intelligence Committee to conclude that “the US Administration’s current peace proposals, including sovereignty implementation, in fact represent the best chance for a lasting peace between the two sides as well as a future two-state solution”.
He added: “I believe that this plan also has the potential to bring much-needed prosperity for the Palestinian people as well as greater stability to the region”.
The letter also attacked the campaign by the 126 parliamentarians for suggesting that “the UK’s response to Israel’s implementation of sovereignty should be to punish the State of Israel with sanctions and other action”.
They write: “On the contrary, I urge you to publicly support Israel’s implementation should it occur, as well as the other components of the US peace proposal.
“Increasing rather than damaging Britain’s trade relationship with Israel is in this country’s economic interest.
“Equally important, as you are well aware, the security of British citizens at home and overseas relies heavily on the continued strong intelligence, defence and technology relationship with Israel.”
They also pointed out in a separate letter that the 1920 San Remo Conference, which recognised the right of the Jewish people to “reconstitute their historic homeland’’, gave their argument legal force.
We call upon the UK Government to officially recognise Jerusalem is Israel's capital and move its embassy to Jerusalem.