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UK's policy towards the Middle East Peace Process inquiry launched

29 January 2017

The Foreign Affairs Committee examines the UK's policy towards the Middle East peace process in new inquiry.

This inquiry is conducted in 2017, a year that contains at least three anniversaries that are significant for the issue: one hundred years since the Balfour Declaration, seventy years of United Nations commitment to a two-state solution, and fifty years since the war of June 1967.

These historic dates, and a contemporary context of shifting diplomatic initiatives both within the region and among world powers, provide a setting for an inquiry to examine how UK policies towards this issue are formed, the steps the UK has taken to fulfil them and recommendations for future policy.

Chair of the Committee, Crispin Blunt MP, commented:

"The Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains an open wound on the map of the Middle East, leaving successive generations living under the perpetual shadow of destructive violence. It is unlikely that 2017 will be the year when a just and equitable solution is reached but, a century after the Balfour Declaration, the Foreign Affairs Committee wants to examine the UK's role and our efforts to enable a resolution.

The Committee will consider the historic and systemic issues that constitute such stubborn obstacles to peace. This context includes on-going issues of violence and incitement, internal divisions, and settlement expansion - all set within the context of Britain's relations with the various parties to the conflict and its efforts to help them overcome these obstacles.

Our inquiry will also examine the evolving diplomatic context, including the UK's position in response to the policies of the new US administration, the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2334, and the partnership with the European Union in supporting peace as we begin the Brexit process. I would like us to scrutinise the Government's engagement with the recent efforts of both France and the Obama administration, in support of the peace process.

The Government may have formally closed the issue of Shai Masot, but one of our terms of reference invites consideration of the way that foreign states and interested parties seek to influence UK policy. In any such discussion, it is necessary to recognise the legitimate right of individuals and organisations to lobby within the bounds of the law. It is important to understand the context in which the UK formulates policy."

Terms of Reference

The Committee welcomes written evidence addressing:

  1. The implications of the UK's unique history in the region for UK policy.
  2. The merits of the UK's policy in support of a two-state solution, including: 
     • The steps that the UK has taken to fulfil this policy
     • The capabilities that the UK possesses to influence this outcome
     • The viability and potential opportunities of a two-state solution. The obstacles to the achievement of a two-state solution.
  3. The consequences of failure to progress towards and deliver a two-state solution, and possible UK policy responses.
  4. The UK's relationship with Israel.
  5. The UK's relationship with the Palestinian Authority and with the Territories and the global Palestinian diaspora not under the administration and/or control of the Palestinian Authority.
  6. The regional context, and the co-ordination of the UK's policies with the international community.
  7. How UK policy is influenced by other states and interested parties. 

The final date for the submission of written evidence is 30th March 2017.

Further information

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