Skip to content

Brits advised against buying property in Israeli settlements in Palestine

Britain has urged Israel to freeze settlement activity in the occupied territories, warning that it threatens the creation of an independent and viable Palestinian state.

'We are updating our travel advice to make people aware that there are risks involved with purchasing property in Israeli settlements on land considered to be occupied under international law,' said a foreign office spokeswoman.

'Potential purchasers should be aware that a future peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, or between Israel and Syria, could have consequences for property they purchase in these settlements,' she added.

No figures are available on the number of Britons who might already own property in the settlements.

But Israel has hit out at the advice saying that it had hoped last weeks visit by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to the UK which included talks with UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, would have assured officials about the prospects of peace.

'This is highly disappointing. The two leaders had a frank and detailed discussion of the measures Israel is willing to take to advance the peace process with Palestinians,' said a spokesman at the Israeli embassy in London.

The international community regards all West Bank settlements as illegal, and the Palestinians say continued settlement construction is a major hurdle in the US-backed peace process.

More than 260,000 Israelis are estimated to live in government-authorised settlements across the occupied West Bank, with another 200,000 in settlements in annexed east Jerusalem.