The West Bank and East Jerusalem have been under occupation since 1967; any annexation of, and transfer of the occupying population into, these territories violates Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, rendering Israeli settlements illegal . At the end of 2013 there were 125 government-sanctioned settlements in the West Bank and 547,000 settlers . Settler violence is rife; the firebombing of a Palestinian home last summer, killing a child and its parents, received media attention, but there were an estimated 130 cases of settler violence in the first week of October alone .
The illegality of Israeli settlements is widely acknowledged; David Cameron labelled settlements in East Jerusalem ‘genuinely shocking’ and reiterated that the British Government does not support illegal settlements . Obama, too, has been critical, saying they are ‘never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations’ . Despite endless condemnation, Netanyahu has presided over a marked increase in settlement expansion: from 2009-2014, the Jewish settler population in the West Bank grew by 23 percent . Many fear that there is simply not enough un-annexed land left with which to create a future Palestinian state.
John Nicolson MP - Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport)
Tommy Sheppard - Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)
Karma Nabulsi - Professor of Politics and International Relations at Oxford University