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WEST BANK Palestine photo credit Dennis Jarvis.jpg
Dennis Jarvis
WEST BANK Palestine photo credit Dennis Jarvis.jpg
Dennis Jarvis
UK News

Bishops urge UK Government to help stop annexation of West Bank

by Heather Preston

Catholic and Anglican Bishops have called on the UK Government to take action against the annexation of parts of the West Bank warning the move would result in further "conflict, suffering and division" in the region.

Plans announced by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to annex parts of the occupied West Bank could take place as early as 1st July following a government vote.

If passed, the move would incorporate up to 30 per cent of Palestinian territory - resulting in Palestinians no longer having citizenship rights. 

The call comes after a recent statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster expressing the Churches' strong opposition to plans for annexation, which local Christian leaders have warned would "bring about the loss of any remaining hope for the success of the peace process."

Rt Rev Declan Lang, Bishop of Clifton, and Rt Rev Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark are both part of the Holy Land Coordination group.

They said in a joint statement: "From our dialogue with communities in the Holy Land, we know first-hand that the situation is rapidly deteriorating. Annexation would only bring more conflict, suffering and division.

"The UK Government has a duty to act and to do everything possible to dissuade the Government of Israel from annexing the West Bank in violation of international law.

"This week we have made representations to the government and senior parliamentarians about the situation. Alongside other churches and faith groups we will continue to work on this fundamental question of justice and peace."

US President Donald Trump agreed to Israel's incorporation of the settlements under his Vision for Peace plan, set out in January to resolve the ongoing Israel-Palestinian conflict.

A letter strongly opposing the proposed annexation has been signed by more than 1,000 Eurpoean parlimentarians, including 240 British signatories.

Among those who signed are former Conservative Party leader Lord Howard, former EU commissioner Lord Patten and former counter-terrorism minister Baroness Pauline along with 35 members of the Labour party, including shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy.

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