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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

Caabu: UK must put pressure on Israel to stop West Bank demolitions

They warn the action — if not halted— may constitute a war crime under international law

A number of West Bank villages are at risk of demolition. Hazem Bader / AFP Photo
A number of West Bank villages are at risk of demolition. Hazem Bader / AFP Photo

The UK government has been called on to intensify its pressure on Israel to stop demolitions in the West Bank.

The Council for Arab-British Understanding (Caabu) has urged the Prime Minister Theresa May, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and the Foreign Office to intensify its pressure on Israel to save those living in Area C of the West Bank, including that of the Palestinian community of Susiya, from demolition, displacement and forced transfer.

The Caabu warn the action — if not halted— may constitute a war crime under international law.

Britain, along with other countries, has been applying pressure on the Israeli government which led to a two week delay to the demolition of Susiya.

However, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said there will be no more delays going forward.

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The residents of the Palestinian village, located in the southern Hebron Hills, are among the poorest in the West Bank.

The Caabu urged the British government to discuss both the destruction of Susiya and the wider communities that exist in Area C with Mr Netanyahu during his current visit to London.

A statement from Caabu says: “Israel has openly stated it intends to demolish entire Palestinian villages in Area C. This will facilitate more settlement growth and destroy the possibility of a two state solution.

“A two week postponement in a court procedure isn't enough – the international community should make clear to Israel that totally destroying Palestinian communities in Area C (like Susiya and Khan al-Ahmar) will have consequences.

That forced transfer of entire Palestinian communities in Area C will and should have consequences, and that they might well constitute a war crime under international law.”.

Caabu Chair Rt Hon David Jones MP who visited Susiya in September 2015, added: “This is the moment for the British Government to continue to show leadership over the issue of the West Bank. Clearances of villages such as Susiya and the expansion of illegal settlements are highly damaging to the prospects of peace in Palestine and the achievement of a two-state solution. Leading global players such as the United Kingdom have a responsibility to intervene with the Israeli authorities for restraint.”

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