Middle East Peace Process — Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:51 pm on 4th May 2011.

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Photo of Lord Alderdice Lord Alderdice Liberal Democrat 7:51 pm, 4th May 2011

My Lords, the strategy that has been adopted for some time-isolating Hamas in Gaza-seems no longer tenable. As many of us have advised, it was not a long-term option. In the case of Egypt itself, the Arab spring has meant that instead of standing in the way of an accommodation between Fatah and Hamas, Egypt has within weeks facilitated it. It has also, as the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, indicated, pledged to open the borders. This in practice makes the siege of Gaza impossible to sustain. However, while we might focus on others in the few minutes available to us for this debate, I should like to put to the Minister the question of how Her Majesty's Government will respond to two developments.

The first development is the move towards a Palestinian Government who are more inclusive and supported by Fatah and Hamas. Will Her Majesty's Government engage with that new Palestinian Government, or will they do what they have done in the past, and what they did after the Mecca agreement, and avoid engagement because of the support or participation of Hamas?

Secondly, in the event-as seems extremely likely, as the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, said-that the United Nations General Assembly approves a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, albeit a relatively virtual one, what will be the approach of the United Kingdom Government? Will we support such an application? If it is approved by the General Assembly regardless of whether we support it, what will be the attitude? This is not, of course, a question only for us or the United States. If Hamas is part of a UN-approved Palestine, what will be its reaction to a UN-approved Israel? Everyone is put under pressure to recognise each other. However, I would appreciate the Minister's response on those two questions.