Urgent Question on Jerusalem House of Commons


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Urgent Question on Jerusalem

Live urgent question in the House of Commons tabled by shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry on president Trump's decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.


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asked the question in this group.

Yes, so I am afraid it is not within

0:00:000:00:00

the rules but I am sure we will hear

more from her throughout the day,

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possibly on multiple occasions. We

will see.

Urgent question, Emily

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Thornberry. To ask the Secretary of

State for Foreign and Commonwealth

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Affairs if you will make a statement

on the implications of President

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from's decision to move the United

States Embassy in Israel from Tel

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Aviv to Jerusalem and recognise

Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

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Minister of State, foreign and

Commonwealth office, Minister

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Alistair Burt.

Thank you, Mr Speaker

and can I thank the honourable lady

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obviously for an important and

urgent question. As my right

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honourable friend the Prime Minister

made clear in her statement

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yesterday, we disagree with the US

decision to move its to Jerusalem

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and recognise Jerusalem as the

Israeli capital before a final

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status agreement. We believe it is

unhelpful in terms of prospect for

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peace in the region. The British

Embassy is based in Tel Aviv and we

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have no plans to move it. Our

position on the status of Jerusalem

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is clear and long-standing. It

should be determined in a negotiated

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settlement between the Israelis and

Palestinians and Jerusalem should

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ultimately be the shared capital of

the Israeli and Palestinian states,

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in line with relevant Security

Council resolutions, we regard East

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Jerusalem as part of the occupied

Palestinian territories. We share

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President from's desire to bring an

end to this conflict and welcome his

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commitment in the statement to a two

state solution negotiated between

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the parties and note his clear

acknowledgement that the final

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status of Jerusalem, including the

sovereign boundaries within the

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city, must be subject to

negotiations between the Israelis

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and the Palestinians. We encourage

the US administration to

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neighbouring forward detailed

proposals for an Israeli-Palestinian

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settlement. To have the best chances

of success, the peace process must

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be conducted in an atmosphere free

from violence. We therefore call on

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all parties to work together and

maintain calm at a crucial time.

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Thank you, Mr Speaker, for granting

this urgent question and I welcome

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the opening remarks for the Minister

of State. For all of us in this

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House and beyond who have worked

tirelessly for decades in the hope

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of lasting peace in the Middle East,

yesterday's decision took an

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absolute hammer blow to those hopes.

There is a reason that before

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yesterday, no other country would

locate their embassy in Jerusalem

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and no other major country would

recognise Jerusalem as Israel's

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capital, because to do either thing,

let alone both at the same time,

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confers legitimacy on Israel's

occupation of east Jerusalem, an

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occupation with no basis in

international law and is a permanent

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barrier to achieving the political

settlement we would all wish for.

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The sheer recklessness of that

decision needs no debate. Donald

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Trump is not crying fire and a

crowded theatre, he is deliberately

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setting fire to the theatre and then

he has the unbelievable cheek to

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claim he is doing this to move

forward the peace process, when in

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reality he is setting it back

decades and, as usual, Mr Speaker,

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as with the Muslim ban, the Paris

Agreement and the Iran deal, the

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question for the UK Government is

twofold. First, what are they going

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to do about this mess? Would Donald

Trump wilfully deserting America's

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role as peace break peace broker

between Israel and Palestine, how

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will we work with other allies to

fill that void, and secondly, when

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will the Government admit they have

got their strategy with Donald Trump

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totally wrong? They told us that

holding his hand and hugging him

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close, indulging him with the offer

of a state visit, was the best way

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of wielding influence and shaping

his policies, but Andreu Souleiman,

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as with so many issues before, they

have been made to look like fools --

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but on Jerusalem. Week, ignored and

with it entirely without influence.

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When will they realise that bending

over for a bully only encourages

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that behaviour when what our country

needs, and what the world needs, is

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a British Government prepared to

stand up to them?

I thank The Right

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Honourable lady for her comments and

her question. I agree that a

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difficult consensus has been broken.

The honourable lady is right, the

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international consensus around the

status of Jerusalem has been one of

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the things we have all held onto

during a period when the ultimate

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settlement, the final settlement,

has yet to be agreed. And it has

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always been seen as part of the

process at the end of that

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negotiated settlement and then of

course the status of Jerusalem would

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be confirmed. The United States has

taken a decision about itself and

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the location of its embassy. I think

in answer to her final point about

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the United Kingdom's position

vis-a-vis President Trump, we make

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it clear we disagree with the

decision. The Prime Minister has

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said it is unhelpful and it is not a

decision we would take. We have now

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to decide what we do now. The first

thing we can do, and we have

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co-sponsored a meeting tomorrow at

the UN Security Council, when this

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will be discussed, we co-sponsored

that with our European partners

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because that does provide the

opportunity to take stock of where

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we are and how we can move forward.

There are two opportunities. One is

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just to dwell on this particular

decision of the United States, which

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people will for a while, and just

leave that sitting there. The other

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is to decide what we do now. I think

it is imperative that the work that

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the envoys have been doing, the

President's envoys, they had shared

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with a number of partners and we now

need to see this and more quickly

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than people anticipated, and then we

can see what there is to work on

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four friends both of Israel and

Palestine. So the process has to

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move on. If the process was derailed

by this, that would compound the on

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helpfulness of the decision. That is

what we want to talk about. In terms

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of the longer term relationship with

United States, our relationship with

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United States is very deep, defence,

intelligence, security, trade, it

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carries a multitude of things and

has the centuries and it will go on

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for centuries, regardless of

leadership. We respect the elected

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president but we know the

relationship with United States is

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much deeper and the United Kingdom

will continue to honour that

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relationship in many forms.

If the

president has a cunning plan which

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he hasn't shared with any of his

allies, can I invite my right

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honourable friend to speculate what

it might be?

Well... If there is...

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If there is, this is a decision

which clearly has been welcomed by

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the Prime Minister in the state of

Israel. There is no doubt that

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Israel seized the United States as a

great friend. There is no surprise

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to any of us in relation to that and

nor does that change anything

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particularly markedly in terms of

relationships in the region. But

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perhaps when proposals come forward,

if there are concessions needed by

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the state of Israel in order to make

the agreement we all wish to see,

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which will be supported by all

sides, just maybe there is now an

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extra area of pressure that can be

applied because a friend of Israel

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has done what the President has

done. I have no inkling into the

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thinking of the President of the

United States, but as everything in

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this whole business is used one way

or another, just possibly there are

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those within the state of Israel who

will recognise the limb on which the

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president has gone out on and when

push comes to shove, that might be

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of some assistance. We are very

clear on our position, we disagree

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with it and will continue to work

with all partners to seek the

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settlement so urgently needed.

President Trump's decision to

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recognise Jerusalem as the carrot

back capital of Israel and move the

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embassy to Tel Aviv is not any

reckless and wrong, it throws the

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entire peace process into jeopardy.

There is no denying that this

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decision hugely hinders a two state

solution to the conflict and the

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reaction from international

community has been overwhelming.

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Pope Francis said, I cannot Remain

silent. The UN Secretary-General

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spoke of his great anxiety and the

European Union has expressed serious

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concern. I could go on. Tomorrow,

the UN will meet amid concerns of Mr

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Trump's announcement in terms of

international law and UN

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resolutions. The Secretary of State

take a moment to condemn this

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decision in the strongest possible

terms and ensure the house that

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there will be pressure tomorrow to

have this decision reversed.

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Regardless of political differences

across this chamber, we do share the

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values of tolerance, inclusion and

respect across these islands. Taking

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this into consideration, will the

Secretary of State today completely

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rule out a state visit from

President Trump and send out a clear

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message that his divisive and

reckless actions are not welcome

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here?

Thank you, Mr Speaker. We will

only allow the peace process to be

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derailed by this if we take the

decision as doing just that. As

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opposed to providing a different

opportunity to take that peace

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process forward. The envoys are

still working, there are still in

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contact with Arab states, Arab

partners, as well as the state of

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Israel. That work should continue.

As I said, that needs to come

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forward with greater urgency. The

risks in the region are even clearer

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than they were yesterday before the

president spoke, the risks that many

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colleagues in this has no full well

because of our frequent visits to

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the region. The only way that can be

quelled is to demonstrate that for

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those who are seeking for hope in

the process, there is still a chance

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of hope and the United Kingdom must

do nothing to cut up that

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possibility. That is why we have to

keep urging the peace process

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forward although the deficit trust

of the United States, because of its

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decision, will be noted, but it will

Remain an important part of those

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discussions in the future. In

relation to the other questions, you

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know, we have co-sponsored the

meeting with the UN, so it is our

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intention to work with partners and

urgently on moving this forward and

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as far as the visit of the president

is concerned, again, the Prime

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Minister has made it clear her views

on that and an invitation has been

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extended but there is no date set

for the visit.

I welcome what the

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Minister of State has said this

morning. I thought I would share

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with you has just briefly one

sentence from a letter from the

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patriarchs and heads of local

churches in Jerusalem to President

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Trump, in which they say, "Peace

cannot be reached without Jerusalem

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being for all." That was echoed by

the Archbishop of Canterbury

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yesterday who said the status quo of

the city of Jerusalem is one of the

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few stable elements for hope for

peace and urges us all to pay for

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the -- prayed for the peace of

Jerusalem.

I think we would all

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concur with the words we have just

heard. The status of Jerusalem is of

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immense importance in the region, to

all faiths and to all parties who

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live there. It is essential that the

consensus of Jerusalem being for all

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is honoured but it is very clear

that our position on the final

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status of Jerusalem, as I stated, as

part of the final settlement to be

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agreed between the parties, that is

the most important thing, not

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anyone's unilateral decision about

what they think about Jerusalem.

The

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UK Government has previously said

that they would recognise Palestine

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when the time was right. Is that I'm

not right now? -- is the time not

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right now?

Our view is that

recognising Palestine should be done

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at the time that is in the best

interests of prospect for peace and

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the peace process. That remains our

position for now.

President Trump's

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recognition of Jerusalem isolates

the USA. It has been condemned by

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European leaders, Middle East

leaders and even Pope Francis, all

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stating that this hostile act has

ignorance and undermines the peace

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process. Can the Minister confirm

that he will maintain a robust

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position with United States to seek

a two state position, although I do

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suggest he start by pointing out

where Jerusalem is to President

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Trump.

I'm grateful to my honourable

friend. I can assure her there is no

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change in the United Kingdom's

position either on the final status

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of Jerusalem or the need for a two

state solution.

On the siege escape

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to the spokesman for the Liberal

Democrats, if not now, when? He will

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be aware that one of the most

grievous consequences of this

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decision is the impact on

Palestinian public opinion. More and

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more people are giving up on a two

state solution. With Britain's

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particular historical

responsibilities, would now not be

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the time to honour the overwhelming

vote in this House back in 2014 and

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recognise Palestine as a state?

As

The Right Honourable gentleman

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knows, I have made frequent visits

to the region. I was there recently

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and spoke yesterday to the

Palestinian representative in London

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to express my views on the

anticipated speech of the president

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of the United States. Recognition of

the state of Palestine I don't think

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is necessary consequence of what we

heard yesterday. It is not a tit for

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tat, it is more important than that.

Accordingly, it should be a decision

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made by the United Kingdom at a time

when we believe it is in the best

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interests of the process of peace.

That is the view and that is the for

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now. -- that is the view for now.

Can my right honourable friend

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confirmed to us that the UK aid

contributions to the Palestinian

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Authority have been, as they have

historically been, a significant

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contribution to maintain the

stability of that region, which

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ultimately will help drive forward

the negotiations for the two state

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solution and a peaceful settlement

we wish to see?

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Last week I spoke to the Palestinian

authorities for education and

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finance. We spoke about the latest

tranche of support the United

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Kingdom is giving to the Palestinian

Authority. This is done in the clear

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understanding that the Palestinian

territories are moving towards

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statehood, which is the purpose for

our support for them. That as we're

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the hope comes from, there has to be

hope of the Palestinians and those

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living in the West Bank and Gaza. It

is our job to make sure there is

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nothing in yesterday's decision by

another powder that makes it more

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difficult, and we will work towards

that.

This is not just a setback, it

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is a sea change. In these

discussions with Palestinian

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Authority is, what plans does the

government have to move matters

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forward? Is that a timetable for

recognition?

I have said what I want

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to about recognition, but the

position in the United States will

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have changed materially because of

yesterday's statement. I would

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rightly draw attention to the parts

of the President's speech that deals

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with the need for negotiations, two

state solution and what was said.

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The nature of the United States as a

broker in the region will have been

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affected, and that is something

we're going to discuss tomorrow as

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to how the process can be taken

forward. The United States will

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continue to play an important part

but there is no doubt the deficit,

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there is a trust deficit because of

yesterday's announcement, and it is

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for other states to fill the gap in

order to make sure the prospects for

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peace are not diminished.

Isn't the

reality that the peace process has

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been stalled for many years, since

1993, and what we need following

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this announcement is direct peace

talks between the state of Israel

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and the Palestinian representatives,

if we can get from the United

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Nations brokered position whereby

those talks start, this could end up

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being quite a good decision.

I have

no sense that yesterday's decision

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made no contribution in advancing

the peace process. I understand what

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the president said, and he has a

particular logic in saying that. I

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am not sure I share that, but I do

share his last point that no matter

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what happens in the region, it is

either a blow or opportunity, and

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usually it's both. We have to make

sure that the opportunity provided

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by yesterday's statement does not

get lost, there is a new role for

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others to play, but ultimately it

must be direct negotiations, what

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can we do to assist that rather than

push it back?

Trump's desperation to

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take off every ill judged a phase of

campaign sound bite now threatens

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the peace process in one of the most

volatile geopolitical regions in the

0:17:550:17:59

world. The government welcomes his

words about a two state solution,

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but those pronouncements count for

little when the actions mean the

0:18:030:18:08

prospect of a two state solution

seems more distant than ever. The

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government is limited in its ability

to influence the US position, but

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surely it is time to listen to the

clear will of the House and

0:18:170:18:24

recognise the state of Palestine the

way we do the State of Israel.

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Without repeating what I said

earlier, the position in the United

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kingdom has a degree of flexibility.

The House is right, we have to make

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a collective judgment as to when the

time is right in the best interests

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of peace. The government then has to

make up its mind about the

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circumstances on what is right, and

it will do that. But the views of

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colleagues unknown.

President Trump

has said the United States remains

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committed to a two state solution,

but can he confirm that the British

0:19:000:19:05

Government will be pointing out to

his country's strongest ally that

0:19:050:19:12

moving the embassy to Jerusalem will

be interpreted by many as

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acquiescence settlement on the West

Bank, which itself is the biggest

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impediment to a two state solution.

I think Hazan alert -- analysis is

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accepted by many.

I think the

announcement yesterday has

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undermined the credibility to broker

a peace deal between Israel and

0:19:390:19:45

Palestine. Isn't it more vital than

ever that the UK and European union

0:19:450:19:51

demonstrate that respect for

international law has to be the

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cornerstone with any lasting peace,

so can he tell the House what action

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he will take to implement the

obligations under the paragraph in

0:19:580:20:03

UN Security Council 2334, past ten

months ago, which causes both states

0:20:030:20:10

to deal with relevant dealings

between the state of Israel and Todd

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-- territories occupied since 1967.

What will Britain do to implement

0:20:150:20:20

that in practice?

We have followed

UN and EU practice in relation to

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clearly labelling produce that comes

from settlement areas. Those areas

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that have been occupied. We are

clear in relation to our advice, and

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we are following through 2334, which

the United Kingdom voted for. I

0:20:430:20:47

would say that many of these issues

have crucially to be decided in the

0:20:470:20:54

final settlement between the

parties. There is a greater need for

0:20:540:20:59

urgency this morning than there was

yesterday in relation to that. That

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is where the United Kingdom can and

will make its efforts. We will be in

0:21:020:21:08

Paris tomorrow for a meeting at the

international support group based

0:21:080:21:11

around Lebanon, and we will be

talking about this, there is a need

0:21:110:21:17

for greater urgency and to make use

of the new opportunity.

Regarding

0:21:170:21:24

moving the embassy, can he assure me

that we will continue to seek a

0:21:240:21:28

position and work with the US to

find the long-term two state

0:21:280:21:31

solution?

Yes, the work of the two

envoys continues. The United States

0:21:310:21:41

will continue to play a part in the

region and processes. I refer to my

0:21:410:21:45

early answers of what we're trying

to do to help that process.

I think

0:21:450:21:54

the Minister understands the

perception of yesterday's

0:21:540:21:59

announcement in the Palestinian

community. What can he do to prevent

0:21:590:22:04

the complete erosion of faith in

this process by those Palestinians

0:22:040:22:07

who are seeking to find a two state

solution and accommodate their

0:22:070:22:12

border with Israel? Would

recognition not be such a move?

The

0:22:120:22:20

first thing we can do is make clear

our disagreement with the United

0:22:200:22:24

States policy, and then work with

partners to ensure the peace process

0:22:240:22:27

must go on and give hope to people,

and also to see the urgency must be

0:22:270:22:32

continued to see the solution.

I

know the Minister will recognise a

0:22:320:22:42

relationship with the United States

is deeper than whoever the current

0:22:420:22:46

document -- occupant of the White

House happens to be. The same with

0:22:460:22:49

the peace process in the Middle

East. Can we stick to the original

0:22:490:22:57

decision of two Democratic

prosperous states living side by

0:22:570:22:59

side and seek to reach that?

Yes, we

referred to the Balfour declaration

0:22:590:23:08

being unfinished business, and that

is still our view, and yesterday is

0:23:080:23:15

announcement will deal with the

second part.

Several months ago you

0:23:150:23:28

suggested dosh can I asked the

Minister when he meets his US

0:23:280:23:33

counterpart in the UN, can he convey

to him the words of a young

0:23:330:23:37

Palestinian Human Rights activist to

Mr Speaker posted yesterday on a

0:23:370:23:42

deception, who said that by taking

this unilateral decision, the

0:23:420:23:47

president is flouting international

law, international consent to us,

0:23:470:23:50

and hopes and dreams of all of those

who harbour hopes of a two state

0:23:500:23:54

solution.

I am sure the words she

quotes will be drawn to the

0:23:540:24:02

attention of those in the United

States. It is our duty to make sure

0:24:020:24:06

hopes and promises are not lost in

these circumstances.

I share the

0:24:060:24:12

government's view on this statement

by the President of the United

0:24:120:24:17

States. I do not think this brings

the two state solution process to an

0:24:170:24:23

end. In fact, I believe it gives

greater emphasis to the work we can

0:24:230:24:28

carry on in order to achieve that.

Does he agree?

I am grateful. The

0:24:280:24:38

peace process, the two state process

will only come to an end when the

0:24:380:24:41

parties themselves feel it cannot go

further. It is vital that we and all

0:24:410:24:47

our partners including the United

States reaffirmed that commitment

0:24:470:24:51

and do our level best to make sure

it is not lost.

It is clear, giving

0:24:510:24:57

Donald Trump's recent attitudes to

settlement, this... It is a real

0:24:570:25:07

risk that the West Bank is further

subdivided, so before that is too

0:25:070:25:12

late, will he recognise the state of

Palestine?

I hear comments in

0:25:120:25:19

relation that the government's

position is clear. It is better for

0:25:190:25:23

us to continue efforts to support

the legal attempts to prevent

0:25:230:25:27

demolitions, which we do through

financial support to the refugee

0:25:270:25:32

Council, to allow information to be

taken to Israeli courts, and cases

0:25:320:25:38

taken forward had resulted in

demolitions being stopped.

The

0:25:380:25:46

Minister acknowledges the right of

any country to decide where to

0:25:460:25:49

locate its embassy, but I have to

say I fear that the already fragile

0:25:490:25:54

prospect removing the peace process

forward further diminished by this

0:25:540:25:58

move. In his reaffirmation of the

government's to a two state

0:25:580:26:03

solution, will he continue to devote

his efforts to driving that former

0:26:030:26:06

band delivering and his real free

from the threat of terrorism

0:26:060:26:25

-- and Israel.

We're looking at how

to move forward with renewed urgency

0:26:260:26:32

to make that happen.

Unlike any of

his predecessors, President Trump is

0:26:320:26:41

dangerously -- has dangerously

unclaimed every conflict he has

0:26:410:26:46

addressed. Hasn't the time come to

see this man as somebody who

0:26:460:26:50

believes in America first, but the

rest of the world nowhere, and

0:26:500:26:53

should we now say that the

invitation for a formal visit here

0:26:530:27:02

is now rescinded? People can be

invited, they can be disinvited.

I

0:27:020:27:07

hear what he says, the position

remains, an invitation has been

0:27:070:27:13

given, no date has been set, and

that remains the possession of the

0:27:130:27:16

government.

This is the second

urgent question in as many weeks

0:27:160:27:21

that you have granted so ministers

could come to the dispatch box and

0:27:210:27:25

condemn the egregious behaviour of

the President of the United States,

0:27:250:27:28

which begs the question, what is the

point of a special relationship if

0:27:280:27:33

these condemnations have no effect?

The point of the special

0:27:330:27:42

relationship if it gives ministers

the opportunity when a decision has

0:27:420:27:46

been made by our friends we disagree

with to explain that to the House,

0:27:460:27:50

to explain our position in relation

to it and the public, and maintain

0:27:500:27:53

that despite some of these

decisions, a special relationship

0:27:530:27:57

that is broad and deep goes on, even

if there are political decisions

0:27:570:28:01

with which we disagree.

UN security

resolution 460 51980 determines that

0:28:010:28:10

measures taken by Israel on the

status of the Palestinian or other

0:28:100:28:20

Arab territories occupied since 1967

including Jerusalem have no legal

0:28:200:28:25

validity. How is Israel therefore

complying?

The honourable lady knows

0:28:250:28:32

the region very well. They are not,

that is why we hold that land to be

0:28:320:28:38

occupied, that is why we voted for

resolution 2334, which reinstated

0:28:380:28:44

elements of what she has said. What

the business needs is the leadership

0:28:440:28:52

that we celebrate. 40 years ago the

president came to accurately to make

0:28:520:28:55

peace. That should be remembered, it

takes bold leadership by those in

0:28:550:28:59

the region to make a difference.

Maybe now, after yesterday, it is

0:28:590:29:03

the time to see more of it.

Does he

agree that Jonathan Freedland

0:29:030:29:09

writing yesterday in the Guardian

summed up President Trump's

0:29:090:29:11

announcement best when he described

it as an act of diplomatic arson?

It

0:29:110:29:17

is not the responsibility of

ministers to comment on articles by

0:29:170:29:22

Guardian journalists or any

journalists, no matter what their

0:29:220:29:27

opinions may be. The House will make

a judgment, but I would say that

0:29:270:29:33

actually the important thing for

ministers and governments to talk

0:29:330:29:36

about is how to de-skilled tensions,

how to recognise positive elements

0:29:360:29:41

out of any situation to move

forward. The place has another

0:29:410:29:46

Retallick, it has enough people

willing to take to the streets for

0:29:460:29:49

all sorts of reasons. The United

0:29:490:29:54

Mr Speaker, let us be absolutely

clear, this announcement is the

0:29:540:29:58

latest instance of the Trump

administration showing contempt for

0:29:580:30:01

international law and the rest of

the world. Now, let me ask the

0:30:010:30:07

minister again, surely it is right

that at the UN Security Council

0:30:070:30:11

tomorrow, will the UK now commit, as

most of the world has, to be long

0:30:110:30:16

overdue step, the recognition of the

state of Palestine?

United Kingdom

0:30:160:30:22

will restate tomorrow our

determination to see a final

0:30:220:30:26

settlement of this with peace

between the nations, to viable

0:30:260:30:30

states and that determination that

the state we wish to see in

0:30:300:30:33

Palestine is one that has been

agreed, but our position is we will

0:30:330:30:38

will recognise, when it is in the

right time relation it McVeet in to

0:30:380:30:42

peace.

-- in relation to peace. It

is two years since I visited a huge

0:30:420:30:51

settlement home to 41,000 just

outside Jerusalem. The parliament

0:30:510:30:54

there is introducing a law to annex

that settlement, the first time it

0:30:540:30:58

has been done, because it has been

emboldened by Trump's decision. Does

0:30:580:31:03

he agree that this legitimisation of

a settlement built illegally on

0:31:030:31:07

Palestinian land is a dangerous move

and will he join me in condemning

0:31:070:31:11

it?

The honourable lady raises again

the difficult issue of locality in

0:31:110:31:17

relation to settlements. There is

evidence that the Israeli Government

0:31:170:31:23

has been influenced by the United

States and others in relation to

0:31:230:31:26

some of its decisions and some of

its legal decisions in relation to

0:31:260:31:31

Jerusalem. Our position remains

clear, the settlements are illegal.

0:31:310:31:35

They must be dealt with as part of

that overall settlement but the

0:31:350:31:38

legality of them, that is what we

challenge when it is legitimate and

0:31:380:31:43

right to do so by those who might be

affected by settlements or

0:31:430:31:47

demolitions and that will Remain the

policy.

Just before we come to the

0:31:470:31:51

business question, I have to notify

the house in accordance with the

0:31:510:31:55

Royal assent act 1967 that Her

Majesty has signified her Royal

0:31:550:32:01

assent to the following act.

0:32:010:32:04

Live coverage of the urgent question in the House of Commons tabled by shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry on president Trump's decision to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as well as recognise the city as the capital of Israel.