Closed petition Condemn Israel for their actions against Palestinians and impose trade ban

Condemn Israel for their actions against Palestinians, including continuing to build settlements in Gaza and West Bank, and impose a trade ban until air strikes and attacks on Palestinians, especially in Jerusalem, are stopped.

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The UK Government has regularly approved arms sales to Israel, worth around £400 million since 2016 - despite the fact that Israel has been found to systematically violate international law through its illegal occupation, settlement expansion, destruction of Palestinian homes and structures, and use of force against Palestinian civilians.

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Government responded

This response was given on 28 April 2023

The UK regularly engages with Israel over the conduct of the occupation and urges it to comply with international law. We do not believe that trade bans will benefit the peace process.

Read the response in full

The UK has no plans to impose a trade ban with Israel. The British Government firmly opposes calls to boycott Israel. All countries, including Israel, have a legitimate right to self-defence. In exercising this right, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and are calibrated to avoid civilian casualties.

The Government takes its defence export responsibilities extremely seriously and operates some of the most robust export controls in the world. All applications for export licences are assessed on a case-by-case basis against strict criteria. We will not issue a licence if there is a clear risk that the equipment might be used for internal repression. However, the UK Government does not believe that imposing a blanket arms embargo would lead to progress in the peace process.

The UK’s position on settlements is clear: they are illegal under international law, present an obstacle to peace, and threaten the physical viability of a two-state solution. We want to see a contiguous West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as part of a viable and sovereign Palestinian state, based on 1967 lines. We urge Israel to halt its illegal settlement expansion.

There are currently no plans for legislation to ban the import of products from Israeli settlements. However, goods imported from the settlements are not entitled to benefit from trade preferences under the UK-Israel Trade and Partnership Agreement. The UK also supports accurate labelling of settlement goods, so as not to mislead the consumer.

Demolitions and evictions of Palestinians from their homes cause unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians; call into question Israel’s commitment to a viable two-state solution; and, in all but the most exceptional of cases, demolitions by an occupying power are contrary to international humanitarian law.

Lord Ahmad, Minister of State for the Middle East, raised the above issues with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen when he visited the UK on 21 March. Diplomats and the Ambassador at British Embassy Tel Aviv also raise these issues frequently with the Israeli government.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office