Thank you for contacting me on such an urgent and serious issue.
I am extremely concerned that the situation on the ground in Israel-Palestine is deteriorating quickly. In an already volatile region, any increase in violence and tension can lead to a full-scale escalation in the conflict. Diplomatic steps must be taken to ensure that this does not happen.
Recent events over have been deeply disturbing:
These senseless acts of violence and displacement must stop. If they continue, there is a grave risk that the conflict may once again enter a critical phase of danger and escalation.
We welcomed the joint commitment from the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority to reduce this surge in violence and “to work towards a just and lasting peace” on 26th February. We also welcomed the Israeli Government’s pledge to halt new settlement construction for “the coming months.”
Nevertheless, as you rightly say, on the very day the Joint Commitment was signed, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted: "Contrary to the tweets, construction and regulation in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] will continue according to the original planning and construction schedule, without any changes. There is and will not be any freeze."
Let me be clear: it is the SNP's unequivocal position that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law. The displacement of Palestinians and the demolition of Palestinian property is a violation of international law and can never be tolerated or ignored. The expansion of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) is in direct violation of the terms of military occupation under international law.
The SNP see these systematic and vicious acts of dispossession as a deliberate attempt to re-engineer the demographic make-up of OPTs.
Even before the most recent Israeli Government came to power, reputable organisations Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem, and the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories all published separate reports concluding that the Israeli authority’s treatment of Palestinians in the OPTs amounts to the crime of apartheid. The UK Government is yet to fully respond to these reports.
Please be assured that I and my fellow SNP MPs in Westminster will hold the UK Government to account on its diplomatic strategy concerning Israel-Palestine, and push them to commit to taking action regarding recent developments of settlement expansion and spike in violence.