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Israel/OPT: UK ban on violent settlers is belated recognition of 'apparatus of state-backed repression'

Responding to an announcement from the Foreign Secretary that the UK will impose travel bans on settlers who commit acts of violence against Palestinians in the Occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International UK’s Chief Executive, said:

“This is belated recognition from the UK of the corrosive effect of Israeli state-backed settler violence in the occupied Palestinian Territories, but it still fails to see the overall picture.


“For decades, settlers have been given almost free rein by the Israeli authorities to wage a terrifying campaign of violence and land and property theft across whole swathes of the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem.


“By unilaterally targeting only a handful of violent settlers within the entire apparatus of state-backed repression in the Palestinian Territories, the UK is clearly failing to address the context - which is that for years the Israeli authorities have been committing the crime of apartheid against the Palestinians.


“The UK should not divorce acts of settler violence from the whole state system of Israel’s illegal settlement expansion, its forcible transfers and its unlawful killings of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.

“We need to see David Cameron revisiting his past remarks about the obscenity of apartheid, which means ensuring that acts of state-backed settler violence - as well other crimes committed in Israel and Palestine - are investigated by the International Criminal Court. 

“If the UK really wants to take a stand against Israel’s illegal settlement expansion, it should also ban the UK trade in settlement goods instead of continuing to import products which facilitate and legitimise a war crime.”


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