127 MPs demand UK impose sanctions on Israel if it annexes Palestinian land

West Bank security wall

One hundred and twenty seven British MPs have written to the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary urging them to make clear publicly to Israel that any annexation of Occupied Palestinian territory “will have severe consequences including sanctions.”   

The politicians, including former cabinet members, ministers and senior diplomats, demanded actions not words in opposing any Israeli annexation.

They said this would be “a mortal blow to chances of peace between Israelis and Palestinians based on any viable two-state solution.”

The letter came after the new Israeli coalition government, led by Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, pledged to annex around a third of the West Bank, starting in July.

The Council for Arab-British Understanding organised the letter and its director, Chris Doyle, said: “Annexation has the potential to be a watershed moment. On the ground Israel will gobble up ever more Palestinian territory and ride roughshod over international law. Internationally major European powers like Britain, who as these leading politicians show, will have to have the courage to go far further than anyone might have imagined to defend the international rules-based order.

“Sanctions should not be entered into lightly but such an action would more than warrant it, just as we did with Russia over Crimea. For too long we have stood and watched as Israel violated Palestinian human rights.”

The letter reads:

We are writing to you to express our outrage at the new Israeli Government’s declared plan to annex areas of territories it occupied in June 1967. This action is the key plank of the agreed Israeli coalition platform. It states that the Government can advance legislation on annexation after 1 July. It is already clear that the Israeli Government will use the cover of the Covid-19 pandemic to seek to implement this egregious plan. It is vital that the UK does everything in its power to prevent this.

Annexation of occupied territory violates several UN Security Council Resolutions including UNSCR 242 and 2334. It is a mortal blow to chances of peace between Israelis and Palestinians based on any viable two-state solution. The joint statement by the UK Government, together with France, Germany, Italy and Spain, on 12 September last year could not have been clearer. Unilateral annexation of any part of the West Bank would be “a serious breach of international law.”

International law is crystal clear. The acquisition of territory through war is prohibited. The Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 is a recent example where Britain quite properly opposed such acts with appropriate measures, including robust sanctions.

Britain upholds the international rules-based system, as you as Prime Minister have affirmed repeatedly. If we are to prevent other states with territorial ambitions from copying Israeli illegal behaviour, the UK must take a lead in standing up to this aggression.  The international community is duty-bound to protect Palestinians under occupation.

We ask you to take the lead in bringing our international partners together to prevent this illegal action. Our Government has stated that any annexation “cannot go unchallenged”.  The Government must now make clear publicly to Israel that any annexation will have severe consequences including sanctions. Words are not enough: Prime Minister Netanyahu has ignored our words. We need to prevent his Government from setting this alarmingly dangerous precedent in international relations.

Full list of signatories:

Rt Hon Diane Abbott MP

Lord John Alderdice

Rushanara Ali MP

Tahir Ali MP

Lord David Anderson of Ipswich QC

Tonia Antoniazzi MP

Hannah Bardell MP

Paula Barker MP

Clive Betts MP

Mhairi Black MP

Rt Hon Baroness Tessa Blackstone

Paul Blomfield MP

Baroness Christine Blower

Crispin Blunt MP

Steven Bonnar MP

Tracy Brabin MP

Rt Hon Ben Bradshaw MP

Alan Brown MP

Ruth Cadbury MP

Rt Hon Lord Menzies Campbell of Pittenweem QC

Rt Hon Alistair Carmichael MP

Sarah Champion MP

Douglas Chapman MP

Joanna Cherry QC MP

Daisy Cooper MP

Rt Hon Lord John Cope of Berkeley

Rt Hon Sir Edward Davey MP

Martyn Day MP

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP

Dave Doogan MP

Allan Dorans MP

Lord Alf Dubs

Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan

Julie Elliott MP

Stephen Farry MP

Marion Fellows MP

Margaret Ferrier MP

Stephen Flynn MP

Rt Hon Lord Edward Garnier QC

Richard Graham MP

Neil Gray MP

Lord Tony Greaves

Lord Andrew Green of Deddington

Lilian Greenwood MP

Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC

Rt Hon Lord Bruce Grocott

Rt Hon Lord Peter Hain

Lord David Hannay of Chiswick

Rt Hon Baroness Helene Hayman

Drew Hendry MP

Wera Hobhouse MP

Rt Hon Dame Margaret Hodge MP

Kate Hollern MP

Lord Clive Hollick

Baroness Sheila Hollins

Stewart Hosie MP

Imran Hussain MP

Lord Qurban Hussain

Baroness Meral Hussein-Ece

Lord Raymond Hylton

Baroness Barbara Janke

Christine Jardine MP

Lord Michael Jay of Ewelme

Kim Johnson MP

Baroness Judith Jolly

Rt Hon David Jones MP

Baroness Jenny Jones of Moulsecoomb

Lord Frank Judd

Baroness Helena Kennedy of The Shaws QC

Afzal Khan MP

Stephen Kinnock MP

Rt Hon Sir Edward Leigh MP

Clive Lewis MP

Baroness Ruth Lister of Burtersett

Tony Lloyd MP

Rt Hon the Marquess of Lothian QC

Caroline Lucas MP

Kenny MacAskill MP

Angus Brendan MacNeil MP

Stewart McDonald MP

Stuart McDonald MP

John McNally MP

Shabana Mahmood MP

Seema Malhotra MP

Baroness Molly Meacher

Mark Menzies MP

Baroness Sue Miller of Chilthorne Domer

Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP

Carol Monaghan MP

Layla Moran MP

Grahame Morris MP

Gavin Newlands MP

John Nicolson MP

Rt Hon Baroness Lindsay Northover

Lord Jonny Oates

Brendan O’Hara MP

Kate Osamor MP

Kate Osborne MP

Rt Hon Lord Chris Patten of Barnes

Baroness Kath Pinnock

Lord Jeremy Purvis of Tweed

Yasmin Qureshi MP

Liz Saville-Roberts MP

Andrew Selous MP

Naz Shah MP

Baroness Shas Sheehan

Tommy Sheppard MP

Andy Slaughter MP

Alyn Smith MP

Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Soames

Chris Stephens MP

Lord Paul Strasburger

Zarah Sultana MP

Sam Tarry MP

Owen Thompson MP

Richard Thomson MP

Rt Hon Lord Paul Tyler

Rt Hon Lord Jim Wallace of Tankerness

Rt Hon Lord William Wallace of Saltaire

David Warburton MP

Rt Hon Lord Norman Warner

Rt Hon Baroness Sayeeda Warsi

Baroness Janet Whitaker

Dr Philippa Whitford MP

Munira Wilson MP

Beth Winter MP

Lord Stewart Wood of Anfield

Parliamentarians who have signed onto the letter after it was sent and published:

Rupa Huq MP

Neil Coyle MP

Debbie Abrahams MP

Mohammad Yasin MP

Apsana Begum MP

Nadia Whittome MP

Dame Diana Johnson MP

Rachel Hopkins MP

Claudia Webbe MP

Tim Loughton MP

Feryal Clark MP

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