Tuesday, 25 January 2022

Dominic Raab urges two-state solution on Mideast visit

Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street 10 Downing Street.

LONDON – British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab urged an end to the “cycle of violence” via a two-state solution ahead of post-ceasefire talks Wednesday in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Raab s one-day trip comes after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on his own visit, vowed to rebuild US relations with the Palestinians by reopening a consulate in Jerusalem and giving millions in aid to help the war-ravaged Gaza Strip.

Raab is to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, along with senior members of their respective governments, the Foreign Office said.

The diplomatic flurry comes after Friday s truce ended 11 days of heavy Israeli bombing of Gaza and Hamas rocket fire from the enclave at Israel.

Welcoming the ceasefire, Raab said in a statement: “It is crucial that all sides now focus on ensuring it can last.

“The events of the last month demonstrate the urgent need to make genuine progress towards a more positive future for both Israelis and Palestinians, and breaks (the) cycle of violence that has claimed so many lives,” he said.

“The UK supports a two-state solution as the best way to deliver a lasting peace.”

In Jerusalem on Tuesday, Blinken said Israeli and Palestinian states living side by side was “the only way” forward.

However, peace talks have stalled since 2014, including over the status of east Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Britain has consistently backed Israel s right to self-defence, while urging it to act proportionately in retaliating against Hamas, the Islamists who control Gaza.

Last Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned an “intolerable” surge in anti-Semitic violence in Britain linked to the Israeli-Palestinian unrest, as he assured UK Jewish leaders of the government’s support.

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