Gaza — Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:06 pm on 6th February 2009.

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Photo of Lord Malloch-Brown Lord Malloch-Brown Minister of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Minister of State (Africa, Asia and the UN) 3:06 pm, 6th February 2009

My Lords, I can come back to the noble Lord in more detail, but our point remains that the only way in which there can be a referral to the ICC for a non-signatory state is through the Security Council; that is the gate through which this has to go. I can envisage the Security Council acting only if we have reached a point where there seems to be well established evidence that confirms that there is a need to proceed. However, I will return to the noble Lord on this subsequently, if I may.

Let me say a word about the economic recovery. One light moment in an otherwise grim debate was when we heard from the world's greatest retailer that Israeli-Egyptian co-operation in the past has made for the word's best knickers. We can hope that that M&S spirit can continue as work is done on economic recovery. We very much support these efforts to get such combined economic programmes moving forward. We think that that is very interesting and a great idea, but I share the doubts that there is an economic solution alone to this conflict—we have tried that before. Reconstruction and private sector co-operation across national borders in the Middle East are important but they are not enough to solve the problem if we cannot move on the politics.

I was asked how we are doing with President Abbas. He is in the UK today, as he was yesterday. He has met the Prime Minister and a number of my senior colleagues, and we have again expressed our support for him in the difficult role that he has to play. He has called for $600 million of additional humanitarian assistance for the reconstruction and has pledged $50 million from the Palestinian Authority itself. The Egyptians have promised a reconstruction conference on 2 March, which we will obviously attend to see what we can do in addition.

On the political side, the Egyptians have emerged as key at this stage, both in trying to facilitate an improvement in the relationship between the two Palestinian political sides and in trying to find a solution to the immediate issue of the ceasefire, as well as an end to the smuggling and the opening of the border crossings. We are extremely clear that, if we can secure a stronger ceasefire, beyond that must lie a renewed political initiative.

Here, I join everyone who has applauded the appointment of Senator Mitchell, whom I knew at the American end when he came back from his sessions in Northern Ireland. He said that the most difficult thing at the beginning, when people referred very passionately to events as the reason for not making peace, was to know whether they were events that had occurred the previous week or 400 years ago. That skill of learning his history quickly will be just as important in the new task that he has taken on. We will obviously support him in every way.

I close by picking up the reference to an evidently very eloquent speech by President Peres of Israel. He said that 50 years ago we realised that the Cold War would end, the Berlin Wall would fall, apartheid would be swept aside, Mandela would be installed and, lastly, that a black man would be President of the United States. Given the debate today, we might add to that that together we would have resolved the conflict in Northern Ireland. Looking ahead, it would seem reasonable also to say that we might find a solution to the problem in the Middle East.

Speaking as someone who has watched that conflict from the outside over many years and who has been involved as a UN official, I think that one could go beyond that and express a certain impatience. Why, when these other extraordinarily difficult conflicts have been resolved, does this one endure? After so much effort by the international community and the leaders of these different countries, and after so much sacrifice by those who have given their lives and borne the costs of the violence and deprivation in the region, why can we still not only get beyond pointing fingers but not even get beyond not pointing rockets? Why is it that every round of the conflict seems to leave the communities even more deeply polarised and divided? How can we now take hold of this opportunity and energy and, for once, channel it, adding this conflict to the list of the others that have been mentioned and say, as has happened, we hope, with the Cold War and other situations, never again.

Motion agreed.

Annotations

Simon white
Posted on 9 Feb 2009 5:34 pm (Report this annotation)

Why all this rhetoric? The answer is simple....Hamas gets rockets fron Iran,Palestinians train their children from a young age that the only good jew is a dead jew & if they die fighting for Jihad they will go to heaven? Now what is complicated about that...oh sorry-The Truth.
If the IRA were firing rockets from southern Ireland onto northern Ireland & GB every day what would GB do...apart from Sunday bloody sunday?If british citizens lived in bomb shelters or in fear of being shot or blown up by suicide bombers....I am sure the uk would would take miliatary action.Isreal has the right to exist & Hamas must be stupid if they think they can keep firing rockets without there being consequences.The truth is they were given Gaza in exchange for peace & they lied & used it as a missile base.The jews learned only too well from the Nazi's the way to maintain superiority over a larger hostile population-The Iron Glove.
Personally I think they went too far but they do not have the luxury/option of the velvet glove,so as I am not in their shoes I cannot cast the first stone.
What is very obvious is if all the Jews & all the Palestinians accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord & Saviour;then this pointless bloodshed could end overnight........& we all now that is not going to happen....The Holy Bible prophecies that Russia,Iran & China will attack Isreal.
We all know the paralell is not David & Goliath reversed but Jew & Nazi reversed.....I support Isreal but the truth is Hamas is in a ghetto & the only option they have is death & rockets.