UK challenges Netanyahu on settlements as Israeli prime minister urges tougher Iran stance

Theresa May welcomes Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Downing StreetReuters

Theresa May will challenge Benjamin Netanyahu on his government's decision to build thousands of new settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as the Israeli prime minister visits London on Monday (6 February).

The British prime minister is expected to warn Netanyahu that his stance risks "undermining" the Middle East peace process during a Downing Street summit.

The comments will come after the UK backed a UN Security Council resolution branding Israeli settlements as "illegal".

Advertisement

But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), said May's briefed remarks are "simply not good enough".

"The Israeli government's decision to build 3,000 new settlement homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem is illegal under international law and a threat to peace and international security," he said.

"It undermines still further the prospect of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, about which the Netanyahu government is increasingly contemptuous.

He added: "Theresa May must make clear to the Israeli prime minister that the British government will stand unequivocally behind the rights of the Palestinian people, along with the many who support them in Israel, as well as human rights and justice across the region.

"She must also demand an assurance from the Israeli prime minister that the improper interference by the Israeli embassy in British democratic politics exposed last month will not be repeated."

The PSC is planning to stage a protest outside to Downing Street to coincide with Netanyahu's arrival.

Pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protesters demonstrate outside Downing StreetIBTimes UK

A spokeswoman for the group told IBTimes UK that no MPs were confirmed for the demonstration and a spokesman for Corbyn failed to disclose to IBTimes UK whether the Labour leader would attend the protest.

Advertisement

Netanyahu, meanwhile, is expected to urge May to take a tougher stance on Iran. "They are trying to test the boundaries with extraordinary aggression, gall and defiance," the Israeli prime minister reportedly said ahead of his visit to Britain.

Netanyahu fiercely opposed the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, signed by the permanent members of the United Nations' Security Council, including the UK and the US, and the EU.

A discussion about rising anti-Semitism in the UK is also expected, with The Community Security Trust record a record high of 1,309 incidents in 2016, a 36% hike on 2015.

© Copyright 2017 IBTimes Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.