Cleverly to reaffirm need for two-state solution during visit to Israel

James Cleverly will use a visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories this week to reiterate the UK’s support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and condemn Iranian threats to the region’s security.

The Foreign Secretary will meet with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian premier Mohammad Shtayyeh to call for an easing of tensions amid the worst violence in the region in nearly two decades.

He will reaffirm the long-stalled peace vision of founding a Palestinian state alongside Israel as the only path forward, although it faces challenges on the ground.

The recent wave of unrest has seen Israel ramp up arrest raids in the occupied West Bank while Palestinian attacks against Israelis have spiked.

There has also been a sharp rise in violence carried out by extremist Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank.

In a speech to an international security conference on Tuesday, Mr Cleverly will condemn Iran for “enabling terrorism” in Israel through its support for Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, according to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Israeli raid damage
Israel has recently ramped up arrest raids in the occupied West Bank (Majdi Mohammed/AP)

He will commit to working with Israelis and Palestinians to counter Tehran’s destabilising activity and visit Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system.

Speaking ahead of the trip, the Foreign Secretary said: “The UK and Israel work closely together to keep our people safe. I’ll be using my first visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories as Foreign Secretary to renew our close security partnership, in the face of unacceptable threats from the Iranian regime.

“A two-state solution between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is the only way to bring about security, stability and prosperity for Israelis, Palestinians and the wider region. I’ll be making clear that all parties must take steps to advance this cause.”

Mr Cleverly will also lay a wreath at Israel’s Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem, and visit the Jalazone refugee camp in the West Bank.

The meeting with Mr Netanyahu comes as his plan to overhaul the country’s judicial system has sparked mass protests and international concerns.

Critics say Mr Netanyahu’s government, the most right-wing in Israel’s history, is dragging the nation towards authoritarianism by upending its system of checks and balances.

Members of his government support settlement in occupied lands, considered illegal or illegitimate and an obstacle to peace by the international community.