David Mowat – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by David Mowat on 2016-02-23.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the extent of Israeli settlement-building in the occupied territories since the cessation of Operation Protective Edge.

Mr Tobias Ellwood

Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem has continued since the cessation of Operation Protective Edge. In August 2014, the Israeli Government expropriated over 1000 acres of Palestinian land near Bethlehem, the largest expropriation in 30 years. In September 2014, Israeli authorities approved 2610 units in Givat Hamatos. In 2015, according to Israeli Non-Government Office Peace Now, construction for 1800 previously-tendered housing units began in the settlements. New tenders for 1143 housing units were also published, 560 in the West Bank and 583 in East Jerusalem. 2016 has seen a number of concerning announcements, including: the extension of the Gush Etzion settlement to include the former church compound of Beit al Baraka; the declaration of 385 acres of land near Jericho as ‘state land’; and approval for a further 153 settlement units. We strongly urge the Israeli Government to reverse its policy over illegal settlements.