Practically 130 parliamentarians, together with former Conservative cupboard ministers, have written to Boris Johnson urging him to impose financial sanctions towards Israel if Benjamin Netanyahu’s new coalition authorities goes forward with its menace to annex elements of the West Financial institution.
The letter, signed by the previous Tory chairman Lord Patten and the previous worldwide improvement secretary Andrew Mitchell, says annexation can be clearly unlawful below worldwide legislation.
The signatories, which additionally embody diplomats and distinguished campaigners towards antisemitism within the Labour occasion similar to Margaret Hodge, level out that the UK didn’t hesitate to sanction Russia after the annexation of Crimea, claiming any transfer within the West Financial institution would warrant an analogous response.
Netanyahu has negotiated a proper to annex elements of the West Financial institution from 1 July within the coalition deal he signed with Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan occasion, however he’s considered ready for approval from the Trump administration earlier than deciding his subsequent transfer. Trump desires annexation to be seen to be built-in into the peace plan set out by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, final 12 months.
Britain joined a diplomatic démarche by 10 EU diplomats in a Zoom name this week warning the Israeli international ministry towards annexation, however the imposition of sanctions versus condemnation can be unprecedented.
Within the letter, organised by the Council for Arab British Understanding (Caabu), the signatories categorical outrage on the new Israeli authorities’s declared plan to annex areas of territories it occupied in June 1967, describing the transfer “as a mortal blow to the possibilities of peace between Israelis and Palestinians primarily based on any viable two-state resolution”.
They declare it’s clear the Israeli authorities is utilizing “the quilt of the Covid-19 pandemic to hunt to implement this egregious plan. It is important that the UK does all the things in its energy to stop this.”
They argue “worldwide legislation is crystal clear. The acquisition of territory by way of warfare is prohibited. The Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 is a latest instance the place Britain fairly correctly opposed such acts with acceptable measures, together with sturdy sanctions.
“Our authorities has said that any annexation ‘can’t go unchallenged. The federal government should now clarify publicly to Israel that any annexation may have extreme penalties together with sanctions. Phrases usually are not sufficient: Prime Minister Netanyahu has ignored our phrases. We have to stop his authorities from setting this alarmingly harmful precedent in worldwide relations.”
In a joint assertion in September final 12 months by the UK authorities, along with France, Germany, Italy and Spain, the UK warned any unilateral annexation of any a part of the West Financial institution can be “a critical breach of worldwide legislation”.
David Jones, the chair of Caabu, mentioned he regretfully thought Netanyahu would solely take heed to threats. Crispin Blunt, one of many signatories and the previous chair of the international affairs choose committee, mentioned the difficulty was a large check for the UK that he hoped his nation would move. He mentioned he hoped Britain would take a stand by saying worldwide legislation does stand for one thing, and bullying doesn’t pay.
Two Labour frontbenchers, Stephen Kinnock and Seema Malhotra, have signed the letter in a private capability, whereas the shadow international secretary, Lisa Nandy, has already written to the international secretary, Dominic Raab, asking him to oppose annexation.
The Israeli embassy has been contacted for remark.