The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) has today written to the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to raise grave concerns regarding the expressed intention of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to move towards the unilateral annexation of large areas in the West Bank on or after 1 July 2020.
The proposed annexation amounts to approximately 30 percent of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley and approximately 235 illegal Israeli settlements.
The letter welcomes the Prime Minister’s statement in UK Parliament on 16 June 2020 condemning the proposed annexation as a breach of international law. However, the letter states that, in reality, mere words of condemnation by the UK and broader international community are insufficient. Criticism and condemnation without consequences will not prevent annexation nor ensure the fulfilment of the right of Palestinians to self-determination, including through the ending of the occupation of Palestinian territory
There can be no doubt that any such purported annexation would constitute a flagrant violation of fundamental norms of international law, including the prohibition of the unilateral annexation of territory by force. It would violate the Charter of the United Nations, UN Security Council Resolutions, as well as the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, and would also pose a serious threat to international peace and security in the region Letter to Boris Johnson re proposed annexation of 30 percent of the West Bank by Israel
The letter asks for clarification on concrete measures the UK government proposes to demonstrate that Britain does not and will not accept the intended illegal annexation of parts of the West Bank, and to ensure accountability and an end to impunity for the ongoing and intended serious violations of international law.
BHRC received a response from the FCO on 14 August 2020. Please click here to read it.