Thank you for contacting me about the recent events in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories following on from the situation in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem.
I share your concern about the violence we have witnessed in Jerusalem and beyond in recent weeks. My thoughts are with all those affected, especially the families of those civilians killed.
From the outset, the United Kingdom was clear that violence against peaceful worshippers at the al-Aqsa mosque was unacceptable. The status quo in Jerusalem is important at all times, especially during religious festivals such as Ramadan, and the United Kingdom was proactive in encouraging all to maintain calm, avoid provocation and uphold the safety and security of Al Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount and all who worship there. I am assured that the United Kingdom will continue to do so.
I welcome the announced ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, effective as of 21st May. This is an essential step to ending the cycle of violence and loss of civilian life. The United Kingdom worked actively to urge the parties to work with mediators towards an immediate ceasefire, and fully supported Egyptian, Qatari and United Nations efforts to that end, working closely with the United States.
Hamas must now end all attacks on Israel. It is also important for Israel to facilitate rapid humanitarian access in and out of Gaza. All sides must now work together to consolidate the ceasefire and to find a durable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which will end the cycle of violence and deliver a sustainable and just peace. The United Kingdom remains committed to the two-state solution as the best way to bring peace and stability to the region. I am assured that the United Kingdom will do all it can to support efforts to this end.
The United Kingdom is clear that evictions of Palestinians from their homes causes unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians, calls into question Israel's commitment to a viable two-state solution and, in all but the most exceptional of cases, are contrary to International Humanitarian Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention. I join Ministers in calling for them to cease with immediate effect.
The United Kingdom regularly makes clear our concerns about the evictions of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem to the Israeli authorities and the Municipality of Jerusalem, both bilaterally and in co-operation with like-minded diplomatic partners.
The United Kingdom Ambassador in Tel Aviv has raised this issue with the Israeli Authorities, as has the Minister of State, James Cleverly, with the Israeli Ambassador in London. The British Consul General to Jerusalem visited families at risk of eviction in Sheikh Jarrah on 3rd May to reiterate the United Kingdom's opposition to the practice. The United Kingdom has also made our position clear on the world stage, such as at the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly in recent weeks.
The current threat to communities in Sheikh Jarrah is allayed for now, but I join my ministerial colleagues in urging Israel to cease such actions permanently.
I note your suggestion about the imposition of sanctions. I do not, however, speculate on potential future designations as to do so could undermine their impact. I know that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office keeps all relevant evidence under constant review.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.