Israeli settlement expansion and demolitions of Palestinian structures are a “violation of international law in all but the most exceptional circumstances”, a UK government report has claimed.
The annual report of the cross-government Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF), published this week, accused Israel of “undermining stability and the viability of a negotiated two-state solution.”
The report, which begins with a foreword by Paymaster General Michael Ellis QC MP – the Minister for the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) – confirmed that £21.6 million had been handed to the West Bank Protection Consortium last year.
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“The Consortium seeks to uphold international law by empowering communities, protecting the most vulnerable and leveraging the diplomatic influence of donors to address the root causes of the conflict,” says the report.
“In 2020, the Consortium supported over 50,000 Palestinians including Bedouin communities, facing demolition or eviction in the West Bank including East Jerusalem to remain on their land through the provision of emergency relief, infrastructure, access to water, and legal support.
“For example, in 2021 multiple mass demolitions in one community in the Jordan Valley left 63 people homeless, without water and medical assistance.
“The Consortium provided shelters, water tanks and legal aid, and called for urgent humanitarian access to the community and an immediate halt to further demolitions.”
Earlier it states:”A surge of demolitions of Palestinian structures and Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, is in violation of international law in all but the most exceptional circumstances and is undermining stability and the viability of a negotiated two-state solution.
“Alongside the EU, France, other states and international aid agencies, the UK oversees and co-funds the West Bank Protection Consortium through the CSSF.”
The CSSF provides development and security support to countries at risk of conflict or instability – and is aimed at enabling the integrated delivery of National Security Council priorities.
In 2020/21, the CSSF spent £1,260.2m. The annual report identifies other areas of concern across the globe – including Ukraine, Columbia and Somalia.
Ellis describes the past twelve months as “a challenging year for CSSF teams and partners, with the global COVID-19 pandemic heavily affecting some of the most fragile and conflict- affected countries and regions.”