The UK government has once again spoken out against Israel’s plans to build new houses in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), despite Israel having every right to provide housing for its citizens.

Last week Israeli government approved plans for Israeli civilians to build new houses in Israeli communities in the area last week prompting condemnations from various governments around the world, including the UK.

A Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office spokesperson said:

“The UK is seriously concerned by the Government of Israel’s decision to approve the construction of 780 new settlement units across the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including areas deep within the West Bank which could threaten future peace negotiations.”

“Settlements are illegal under international law and risk undermining the physical viability of the two-state solution. We call for the construction of these in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the West Bank to cease immediately.”

On Thursday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Twitter echoed the criticism saying:

“The UK has repeatedly urged Israel to end illegal settlement expansion in the West Bank. The decision to proceed with new settlements in Givat HaMatos separates Palestinians in East Jerusalem from Bethlehem, and threatens the viability of a two-state solution.”

These are both fairly routine statements from the British foreign office, not exactly condemnations, but rebukes none the less. However, they are still deeply flawed and counterproductive.

Israeli towns (settlements) in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) are not actually illegal under international law. Sadly, it has become all too common for this line to be thrown around by politicians and campaigners. The truth, however, is that Israel’s legal claim to Judea and Samaria is rock solid.

Judea and Samaria are part of the Biblical land of Israel that was given to the Jewish people by God. It was also promised to the Jewish people in the Balfour Declaration and ratified by the UN Charter (which all UN countries must agree to). The only way for Israel’s rights to this land become “illegal” is if the UN changes its charter (which it can’t) or if Israel and the Palestinians sign a peace agreement and Israel gives the land to the Palestinians, which has not happened.

If you would like to read more about Israel’s legal rights to Judea and Samaria, click here.

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