Min­is­ter says wall ‘land-grab’

The Jewish Chronicle - - Front Page - BY ROBYNROSEN

THE GOV­ERN­MENT has said the views of Alan Dun­can, Min­is­ter for In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment, who de­scribed the Is­raeli se­cu­rity wall as a “land-grab” and claimed Is­raelis de­lib­er­ately take wa­ter away from Pales­tini­ans, re­flects its po­si­tion.

Mr Dun­can makes the com­ments in a video used on the Depart­ment for In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment’s (DFID) web­site to il­lus­trate its new four-year plan to sup­port Pales­tini­ans.

He says: “The wall is a land-grab. It hasn’t just gone along the lines of the proper Is­raeli boundary. It’s taken in open land which ac­tu­ally be­longs to Pales­tine. So that’s not a se­cu­rity wall, that’s a perime­ter wall try­ing to an­nex land that does not be­long to Is­rael.” He was filmed dur­ing a visit to the West Bank ear­lier this y ear where he signed an agree­ment with Pales­tinian Prime Min­is­ter Salam Fayyad.

Mr Dun­can adds: “Let me give you the real pic­ture of what set­tle­ment ac­tiv­ity amounts to. Is­raeli set­tlers can build what they want and then im­me­di­ately get the in­fra­struc­ture so that takes the wa­ter de­lib­er­ately away from Pales­tini­ans here. The Is­raelis can build and this is not their coun­try, but the Pales­tini­ans, whose coun­try this is, can­not build.”

Andrew Bal­combe, of the Bri­tish Is­rael Group, said: “We think it is ap­palling that a min­is­ter of the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment is the fea­tured speaker in a one-sided video that is in­ac­cu­rate and in­flam­ma­tory.”

Alan Aziz, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Zion­ist Fed­er­a­tion, said: “Mr Dun­can is pre­sent­ing a one-sided ac­count that is not just in­ac­cu­rate, but openly bi­ased. It has no place on an of­fi­cial Gov­ern­ment web­site.”

Stu­art Polak, di­rec­tor of Con­ser­va­tive Friends of Is­rael, said: “CFI raised this at the high­est lev­els of gov­ern­ment im­me­di­ately af­ter the video was posted.

“We were as­sured that this was not gov­ern­ment pol­icy and no For­eign

Alan Dun­can ac­cuses Is­rael of steal­ing wa­ter­from Pales­tini­ans

Of­fice min­is­ter would con­cur with these as­sess­ments.

“I would se­ri­ously ques­tion on what au­thor­ity the DfID min­is­ter has raised these is­sues as pol­icy and why this video is still avail­able to view.”

But a DfID spokesman said the views “re­flected” those of the gov­ern­ment.

He said: “Mr Dun­can was speak­ing dur­ing a visit to the West Bank. His com­ments re­flect the con­sis­tently held gov­ern­ment po­si­tion that set­tle­ments are il­le­gal and are an ob­sta­cle to peace and the two-state so­lu­tion.”

When asked specif­i­cally about his com­ments on the se­cu­rity wall and wa­ter theft, an­other spokesman said: “He is a gov­ern­ment min­is­ter and speaks on be­half of the gov­ern­ment.”

A spokesman from the For­eign Of­fice said that DfID’s line “is the gov­ern­ment’s po­si­tion”.

Alan Dun­can in the DfID video on its web­site

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