Middle East

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th May 2016.

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Photo of Louise Ellman Louise Ellman Chair, Transport Committee, Chair, Transport Committee 12:00 am, 24th May 2016

What assessment he has made of the effect of the recent activities of Hamas in Gaza on the middle east peace process.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The recent activities of Hamas in Gaza, including attempts to rearm and rebuild tunnel infrastructure, undermine efforts to improve the situation in Gaza and harm prospects for the middle east peace process. Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza must permanently end rocket fire and other attacks against Israel.

Photo of Louise Ellman Louise Ellman Chair, Transport Committee, Chair, Transport Committee

In April, two new terror tunnels built by Hamas to launch attacks on Israeli civilians were discovered. Does the Minister believe that Hamas is planning new attacks on Israel?

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

As I said earlier, I believe that is a worrying development, and we seek to place pressure on Hamas, and all those close to it, to recognise that it will take us back to where we were two years ago, unless there is a direction of travel.

Photo of John Cryer John Cryer Labour, Leyton and Wanstead

Does the Minister place any significance on the founding charter of Hamas, which is clearly, or to a large extent, a stream of the most visceral anti-Semitism, and even includes approving references to the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”?

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

I have many conversations about that situation and the challenges we face in the middle east, not least in Gaza and the west bank. A number of commentators have said, “You need to speak to Hamas; you need to get them to the table”, but until Hamas changes its constitution, in which it clearly does not recognise the state of Israel, it will be impossible for us to move forward.