Middle East Peace Process — Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:08 pm on 4th May 2011.

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Photo of Lord Judd Lord Judd Labour 8:08 pm, 4th May 2011

My Lords, I am particularly glad that the noble Baroness, Lady Tonge, the noble Earl, Lord Sandwich, and my noble friend Lord Dubs mentioned children in this debate. The plight of children is deeply disturbing. The condition in which children in particular are being held in prison in both parts of Palestine is an affront to any decent humanitarian standards, but it is also totally inexplicable in terms of peacebuilding because of the bitterness it must engender in the young.

The coming together of Hamas and Fatah certainly provides a great opportunity, but I would like reassurance from the Minister that the Government are totally convinced that if a success is to be made of this opportunity, the process, as well as the solution, in making peace must be owned by the parties themselves. It has to be inclusive and preconditions have to be kept to a minimum. The point about peacebuilding is that you build commitment in the context of the process. Insisting on too many preconditions before the process begins prevents the process getting under way. That is the whole challenge of a peace process.

Finally, I believe that the outside world, including the United States-I would like an assurance from the Minister that this is the Government's position-must realise that it cannot impose or manage a solution here. As I have said, that solution has to be built by the parties. There is a difference between facilitating, which we should all seek to do, and trying to impose or manage, which we must try not to do, because the solution will be the solution of the people themselves.