MINISTERS were told yesterday to live up to their words and press Israel to halt its home demolition rampage in the West Bank.
Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood told the Commons that Israel’s actions were undermining productive talks between both sides.
United Nations statistics, highlighted by Labour MP Richard Burden, revealed that a shocking 649 Palestinian properties have already been demolished by Israel so far this year.
Speaking at Foreign Office questions, Mr Ellwood said: “We are deeply concerned by continued demolition of Palestinian property by Israeli authorities and the worrying spike in the rate of demolitions this year.
“In all but exceptional circumstances, demolitions are contrary to international humanitarian law and we regularly raise our concerns about the demolitions with the Israeli government.
“We make it clear that such actions do not encourage the confidence-building measures needed for talks to recommence.”
Mr Burden told the House that it was “getting worse not better” and said: “If Israel feels it can continue with a culture of impunity why should they stop?”
Palestine Solidarity Campaigns interim director Sara Apps told the Star: “Richard Burden is absolutely right when he talks about Israel’s ‘culture of impunity.’
“PSC welcomes the government’s condemnation of Israel’s illegal demolition of Palestinian homes and property.
“However, that condemnation must be accompanied by action which pressures Israel to abide by international law, end the demolitions and end the occupation.
“At the moment, there is no such action, and Israel knows it can act with impunity, as Mr Burden has noted.”