Gaza Strip

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 18th June 2007.

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Photo of Kim Howells Kim Howells Minister of State (Middle East), Foreign & Commonwealth Office 3:31 pm, 18th June 2007

My hon. Friend has tremendous knowledge of the area, and he makes a fair point. We have to make Israel understand that it has to do what it can to relieve the humanitarian crisis on the west bank and in Gaza and that it needs to lift the blockades where it feels able to do so, because they are having a dreadful effect. I do not want to discuss boycotts or trade preferences at the moment, because we should be discussing the immediate crisis and how we can try to alleviate it.

My hon. Friend mentions the national unity Government's 10-point proposal. On many other occasions, not just in the middle east, I have seen that when such coalitions—fronts that have gathered together to try to make progress towards peace—find that they have to stick by proposals and do things that they find unpalatable, such as negotiating with the historic enemy, they start to come apart, unless they are very strong. Perhaps Hamas no longer wanted to be associated with those 10 points. Perhaps it felt that its credibility on the mythical Arab street was now under threat and it mounted the coup d'etat to show that it was different from Fatah and that its heart was not in the rapprochement with Israel. I cannot give my hon. Friend a reason why Hamas decided to rat on those principles and start killing people in Gaza and taking military control. He will have to find that out from Hamas: he certainly will not find it out from me, because I do not know the answer.


Marwan Elfallah
Posted on 19 Jun 2007 10:16 pm (Report this annotation)

WE should stop playing this game of blaming Hamas for everything. Hamas were initially voted for by the Palestinian people. They did not "just start killing Palestinians"
Fatah have been armed by Israel,USA and other countries which are dictatorships(e.g. Egypt)
We should be more pragmatic and realise that Hamas are part of the solution and not the problem.
If we were going to stop talking to people who engage in violence then we would not communicate with the USA or Israel.