Britain’s Foreign Office has named Israel a “country of concern” in a new quarterly report listing 28 countries. A FCO spokesperson said: “We are concerned about the widespread use of administrative detention by Israeli authorities, child prisoners, handling of protests and demolitions.”
Although the report is based on events between October and December last year, it also pinpoints “the construction of a new settlement in ‘E1’”, which, it says, “would… limit the ability of Palestinians to move easily along the length of the West Bank. ”
An Israeli Embassy spokesman said that diplomats were only ready to share their reactions privately with their British opposite numbers.
But, after talks with Israeli officials, the JC has learned of two areas of concern. The first was regret about the weight given to Israel’s alleged human-rights violations in a survey taking in countries such as North Korea and Iran: “Israel, with its strong court system, a country which has just completed its latest round of democratic elections — is this what really disturbs Britain the most?”
There are also questions over speculation in a report supposed to be fact-based. One official said: “Why does this report wonder about potential human- rights issues in Israel? Raising E1, where there have been no violations yet, if at all, seems strange to say the least.”