The following letter from British Prime Minister David Cameron was received by former New York mayor Ed Koch Tuesday in response to his letter which challenged the Prime Minister over his views on Israeli development in Judea and Samaria. Koch included a copy of his earlier op-ed on the subject.
10 DOWNING STREET
LONDON SW1A 2AA.
THE PRIME MINISTER 15 January 2013
Dear Mr. Koch:
Thank you for getting in touch and for sending me a copy of your recent article, about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Let me reassure you that the UK, is and will remain a firm friend of Israel. I share your deep concern about the recent inflammatory statements made by Hamas leaders, including Khaled Mesha’al on 7 December, denying Israel’s right to exist. The UK also utterly and unreservedly condemns the recent call for a third intifada and a suicide campaign by a Hamas official. Incitements to violence and terror are unacceptable. We therefore welcome President Abbas’ public rejection of these statements and acceptance of the State of Israel within 1967 borders.
We firmly believe that the people of Israel have a right to live peacefully and free from terror. But we also believe that the only sustainable way to achieve this is through a negotiated two-state solution. As friends of Israel, it is important we do whatever we can tto reach that ultimate objective: two states, living side by side, in peace. We ask Israel to stop building settlements because they are illegal under international law, an obstacle to peace and make a two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, harder to achieve. They are, ultimately, not in Israel’s long-term interests. Simply building a fortress without a negotiated agreement with the Palestinians cannot deliver lasting security for Israel.
I do not share your analysis regarding the recent Palestinian UN General Assembly resolution. The UK’s position on this resolution was determined by the guiding principle of ensuring a rapid return to negotiations. Given this, we had asked Palestinian President Abbas not to move a resolution at the
UN General Assembly in November. In the period prior to the vote, we engaged intensively to seek a commitment from the Palestinian leadership to return immediately to negotiations without preconditions and that they would not pursue immediate action in UN agencies and the International Criminal Court. In the absence of these assurances, the UK abstained on the vote.
We must now look forward. This year is an important one for peace in the Middle East. The UK will work urgently with the United States, our other international partners and with the Israelis and Palestinians to drive the peace progress forward before the window for a two-state solution closes forever.