AROUND 30 members of the Bradford on Avon Friends of Palestine staged a 'socially distanced' protest on Saturday to raise awareness of the plight of people living on Israel's West Bank.

The group are concerned about the Israeli Government's annexation of land on the West Bank which they say breaches international law.

Spokeswoman Judith Hammond said: "This issue is important to our residents as Bradford on Avon Town Council formalised a ‘Friendship Link’ in March this year with Tubas, a town in the middle of the area Israel is planning to annex, which would have grave consequences for its inhabitants."

The group held up placards and banners in Westbury Gardens in the town centre on Saturday morning and handed out information to interested passers-by.

They believe the UK Government should apply sanctions to Israel as it did to Russia when it annexed Crimea in 2014.

A cross-party group of 149 British politicians, 1080 European parliamentarians, Archbishop Justin Welby and Cardinal Vincent Nichols believe that Prime Minister Boris Johnson should introduce sanctions. In addition, 30 highly respected British Jews criticised the Israeli action.

All have written to him to reject the proposed annexation, calling for ‘commensurate consequences’ - ie sanctions.

Mrs Hammond added: “Many will wonder how we got here. In the carve up of the Ottoman Empire during WW1, the UK promised the Arab population of Palestine self-government within 10 years.

“However, in 1917, the UK Government agreed to the creation of a national home for the Jews in Palestine.

“The Foreign Secretary, Balfour, publicly acknowledged that these two mutually incompatible promises would cause ‘problems’, whilst saying he did not intend to consult with the Palestinians and no-one ever did.

“The United Nations declared the state of Israel, with no defined borders, in 1948. It was an important safe haven for persecuted European Jews following the holocaust in WW2.

“Following the Six Day War in 1967, Israel extended the areas they held, encroaching on Palestinian owned land.

“In the last 53 years, Palestinians have suffered grave injustices: the building of huge Israeli settlements on stolen land, house demolitions, detention without trial, child prisoners, destruction of olive groves, inequitable water allocation and crippling movement restrictions to name but a few.

“We now urge our prime minister to heed the recent warning of 47 UN human rights experts that annexation ‘would be the crystallisation of an already unjust reality: two peoples living in the same space, ruled by the same state, but with profoundly unequal rights’.

"He must act to show the UK has not abandoned the Palestinian people.”