The Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel (LDFI) would like to express our deep concern about plans by the current Israeli Government to annex large swathes of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley.
We are strong supporters of the State of Israel and a negotiated two state solution; however, we believe this action by the Government of Israel is neither in the best interests of the State nor the Israeli or Palestinian peoples. Significant parts of the UK's Jewish diaspora have voiced both concerns about and opposition to these proposals. The proposed annexation, reportedly scheduled for 1st July also has the potential to impact Israel's political, diplomatic and economic challenges, including their hard-won peace deals with Egypt and Jordan in addition to their burgeoning relations with the Sunni Arab states.
However, it is important to acknowledge that for the achievement of a two-state solution, a partner for peace is required and, as it stands, sadly one does not currently exist. Therefore, we call on those Palestinian groups calling for Israel's destruction to desist forthwith, and for these groups to sit down at the negotiating table instead of rejecting all offers of peace that are put forward. This stalemate further fuels radical voices on both sides of the conflict leading to alleged justification for egregious policy shifts. We have seen the success that 'land-swaps' have had in the past, with Israel's withdrawal from the Sinai under previous Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and how it brought about peace with Egypt.
The LDFI, its Honorary Executive, our ordinary members, and the Party's Parliamentarians are overwhelmingly friends of Israel. Furthermore, we recognise that as the only functioning democracy in the Middle East, it is often held to higher standards than that of its neighbours. That however is the price of democracy – it is sometimes lonely on the moral and political high ground. For the reasons stated above, we agree with the UK Government and its Middle East Minister in opposing annexation, whilst continuing to stand up for Israel and all she represents.