Israel has come under increasing criticism from British leaders and Parliamentarians both for its illegal settlement activity and its treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military courts. Reacting to the declaration of intent to build a further 1,500 Jewish only housing units in occupied East Jerusalem by the Israeli planning body, British Prime Minister David Cameron has expressed his “deepest disappointment”.
“Settlement activity is a recognized obstacle to this path. It is illegal under international law and should stop,’ Cameron said in a statement. The announcement came on the same day as US Presidents Speech on the region which called on the Israeli government to halt the expansion of illegal settlement activity in Palestinian land.
Following Cameron’s statement Israeli watchdog group Peace Now announced that a further 294 homes were announced in the West Bank settlement of Beitar Ilit.
British Parliamentarians have also discussed the conduct of Israeli military courts in the West Bank and their treatment of Palestinian minors. In two separate sessions, the latest of which was held on May 4th of this year, the issue of cruel and unusual treatment as well as dubious legal procedures and lack of transparency was brought to the attention of Westminster.
After visiting an Israeli military court in Ofer, Lord Alf Dubs challenged the legal process used against Palestinian minors. Dubs condemned a legal procedure that he described as often giving no proper legal representation to Palestinian youth, that was often conducted in Hebrew without proper translation services, with little visiting rights and the excessive use of chains and handcuffs in bringing children to and from court.
‘I do not believe that this process of humiliation represents justice. I believe that the way in which these young people are treated is in itself an obstacle to the achievement by Israel of a peaceful relationship with the Palestinian people. I think that the Israelis should apply proper standards of human rights to the way in which they treat them.’ The British House of Lords member added.