UK parliament panel: Israel's politics diminish possibilities of peace

New report issued by the British Parliament's International Relations Committee calls for the UK to alter its Mideast policy, criticizes Trump leadership as "mercurial and unpredictable."

By
May 4, 2017 12:23
2 minute read.
british big ben parliament

Flags are seen above a souvenir kiosk near Big Ben clock at the Houses of Parliament in central London. (photo credit: REUTERS)

A new report penned by the British Parliament's International Relations Committee harshly criticized Israel's policies, apparently portraying the country and its leadership as those to blame for the current grim state of the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

According to the Jewish Chronicle, the House of Lords report released Tuesday slammed certain Israeli actions, saying that the country's settlements policy was illegal and that it made a two-state solution "increasingly impossible."

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The report went on to claim that Israel's settlement enterprise was the particular issue hindering the peace process, "specifically the rapid expansion of settlements beyond the agreed 1967 borders of Israel."  

It also said that as long as the current situation persists, the chances for progress in peace talks was "weak."

Another policy the report found lacking was internal, blaming Britain for having a problematic Middle East policy. The report suggested that the United Kingdom alter and update its policy regarding the Middle East and in particular its stance on the Arab-Israeli conflict as well as the stagnant peace process.

The text recommended that the UK distance itself from the Trump administration's "destabilizing postures" in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Another recommendation highlighted in the report was to recognize "Palestine" as a state, a move UK Prime Minister Theresa May did not openly endorse in her most recent meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in February, when she did said that "we remain committed to the two-state solution as the best way to build stability and peace in the future."

The report also criticized the current White House administration's policies, condemning US President Donald Trump's leadership as "mercurial and unpredictable" and said that the UK had to stop relying on the American government in forming its own Middle East policy. It urged Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to forge new relationships across the region and called on Britain to end its "automatic reliance on American leadership."

Pointing an accusatory finger at the White House once more, the report went on to add that Trump's "continued threat to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, which would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, remains an inflammatory option."

The report also slammed Trump's new and controversial Israel envoy pick, saying that "his choice of David Friedman- an opponent of the two-state solution and advocate of Israeli settlements- as ambassador to Israel may raise tensions."
Netanyahu meets Britain's PM Theresa May

Taking yet another stab at the US president, the report mentioned that "in February 2017, President Trump dropped the US commitment to a two-state solution, surrendering the decision to whatever 'both parties like.'"

The report also said that the UK should support the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers despite Trump's opposition as well as urging to work to form alliances in the Arab Gulf region.

Several parties with a distinctly pro-Israel approach have rejected the report, with Conservative Friends of Israel saying that it displayed a "simplistic and one-sided" narrative of the conflict.


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