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Backbench Business — Palestine and Israel

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 9:11 pm on 13th October 2014.

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Photo of Mark Durkan Mark Durkan Shadow SDLP Spokesperson (International Development), Shadow SDLP Spokesperson (Work and Pensions), Shadow SDLP Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs), Shadow SDLP Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow SDLP Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow SDLP Spokesperson (Treasury) 9:11 pm, 13th October 2014

That may well be, and it may add to people’s frustrations. We will see whether it happens. We want to flush out a proper declaration, because there should be no obfuscation. There is a clear choice. One of the beauties of the motion tabled by my hon. Friend Grahame M. Morris is that it is clear—for the purposes of providing absolute clarity, there is the amendment tabled by my right hon. Friend Mr Straw—and the issues have been well distilled in a very good debate.

A couple of attempts have been made to cloud some of the issues, including by Ian Paisley. He tried to suggest that the experience of the Northern Ireland peace process somehow means that we should not recognise the state of Palestine now, but leave everybody to sort everything out and then recognise it. The truth is that he and his party opposed the peace process throughout and did so shrilly. They said that the sky would fall in. They opposed American involvement. They opposed what the British and Irish Governments did to create the framework for a solution, and they opposed building a solution based on three sets of relationships—institutions in Northern Ireland, institutions in Ireland and institutions between Ireland and Britain.

The point is that people outside a conflict sometimes have to help to create some of the givens in a process. In the give and take that we expect in a negotiated process, particularly in a historic conflict, it is not in the parties’ gift to do all the giving; that is where responsible international input can create some givens and new realities.