Britain considers travel bans for Israeli settlers involved in violence

US introduced restrictions last week to place pressure on Netanyahu's government to uphold stability in West Bank

About 1,000 Palestinians have been displaced from the occupied West Bank since the Israel-Gaza war started, shadow foreign secretary David Lammy said. AFP
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Israeli settlers involved in violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank could face travel bans under plans being considered by the British government.

David Cameron, the Foreign Secretary, has discussed the idea with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Minister of State for Development and Africa Andrew Mitchell said, adding that ministers hoped to say more soon.

A travel ban was announced by the US last week in an attempt to place pressure on the Israeli government to uphold stability in the West Bank territories.

Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy asked whether ministers agreed with Labour that Israeli settlers involved in “attacks, serious criminal activity and fostering hatred” should be subject to travel bans.

In an article for the Observer newspaper written after visiting the Middle East, the Labour front-bencher said that since the October 7 attack 1,000 Palestinians have been forcibly displaced in the West Bank.

“International diplomacy must focus on Gaza but it must also focus on further escalation in the West Bank and the wider region, including Lebanon,” Mr Lammy told the Commons.

“So will the government increase pressure on the Israeli government in the West Bank by imposing travel bans on illegal settlers involved in attacks, serious criminal activity and fostering hatred?

“Will he say unequivocally like Labour that we will not tolerate the expulsion of the people of Gaza or the West Bank and that they must be able to return to their homes?”

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“The targeted killings of civilians are completely abhorrent and we are seeking that they should not just be arrested but also prosecuted and punished,” Mr Mitchell responded.

“In terms of his comment about travel bans, I can tell him that planning is going on. The Foreign Secretary discussed this with his US counterpart last week and I hope it may be possible to say something about that shortly.”

Mr Lammy had earlier been critical that he could not question Mr Cameron directly on diplomatic efforts surrounding the Israel-Hamas war.

“Mr Speaker, I know you continue with your best endeavours, but on an important matter like this, I think we see why it is so problematic that the Foreign Secretary isn’t in this House. The scale of death and destruction seen in Gaza over the last two months has been intolerable,” he said.

Mr Mitchell replied: “I recognise of course the enormous authority that Mr Cameron holds in these matters, and (Mr Lammy’s) request that he should be available in the House.

“I will do my best to satisfy him on the questions that he has asked, but as he knows Mr Cameron is very keen to engage with the House of Commons in every possible way.”

Updated: December 11, 2023, 6:59 PM