I am furious to learn that Israeli settlers resident illegally in the occupied territories are allowed visa free entry to the UK, whereas Palestinians living legally in those territories require a visa (and won’t usually get one).
Asked by Lord Warner
To ask Her Majesty’s Government why Palestinians from the Occupied Palestinian Territories require a visa before travelling to the United Kingdom, but Israeli citizens living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories do not require a visa to come to the United Kingdom for six months or less.[HL59]
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consideration has been given to changing immigration rules to restrict access to the United Kingdom by all Israeli citizens who live in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.[HL60]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach):
Visa regimes are based on nationality, not place of residence. Palestinians are required to obtain a visa before travelling to the United Kingdom. Israeli citizens, regardless of where they reside, are able to visit the United Kingdom visa free for up to six months.
No consideration has been given to changing the Immigration Rules to restrict access to the United Kingdom by Israeli citizens who live in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Visa regimes are kept under regular review.
In immigration cases, evidence of continuing engagement in illegal activity should normally lead to denial of entry to the UK. That is the supposed general policy. The Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, a fact not in serious dispute even by arch-Zionists Hague and May. On top of which, Israeli settlers should be denied entry because they have demonstrated a clear propensity to settle where it is illegal for them to settle. That plainly gives reasonable grounds to suppose that they will not leave the UK at then end of their visa validity.
90% of West Bank Palestinians refused a visa, are refused on the grounds that they may seek to remain and live illegally in the UK – despite the fact they have never lived illegally anywhere. Illegal Israeli settlers, on the other hand, can waltz into the UK without a visa.
It is hard to imagine a more stark double standard and abuse of power.