We need your support to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can continue to hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Palestine: United States’ Peace to Prosperity Economic Plan - Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:29 pm on 18th July 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Turnberg Lord Turnberg Labour 3:29 pm, 18th July 2019

My Lords, the one thing that has come out so far from President Trump’s “deal of the century” is the offer of large amounts of money to the Palestinians; not all of it American money, of course; but then he is first and foremost a businessman. It is to build a prosperous and vibrant Palestinian society. Trump is not someone who has much grasp of the history of the Middle East. Certainly, money is needed, but he should know that bribery will not work while the basic problems around Jerusalem —refugees, settlements and security—remain unchanged.

The history of Palestine has shown repeatedly that simply offering money has never worked. In the 1920s and 1930s there were debates in this House in which much was made of the belief that, since the Palestinian Arabs were then so much better off than their cousins living in Egypt and Syria, they would automatically accept their country, as they saw it, being taken over by the influx of foreign invaders from Europe. The Zionists were certainly bringing increasing prosperity, with rising employment and better wages and living conditions, and Arabs from elsewhere were immigrating in increasing numbers, but never for one moment did the Arabs accept the idea that they were not being given the independence to govern themselves, as was happening in Syria, Egypt and Iraq, and that they were powerless to stop the influx of the Jews. Prosperity and money did not talk then, and it will not do so now.

When partition of the land was proposed in the Peel report of 1937 and repeated in the UN in 1947—two-state solutions, if you will—the Palestinians would not have much to do with the idea, and they have been somewhat resistant for most of the time since. We still have partition but not two states. I believe, as others have said, that a two-state solution is the only show in town. We in the UK should take advantage of our position of relative trust with both sides to press the case: to press the Israelis to move on the settlements and the other restrictions; and equally importantly, to persuade the Palestinians that Israel is there to stay. It is not about to disappear, and we should use our influence with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Gulf states to put pressure on the Palestinian leadership to give up their anti-Israel rhetoric and incitement and restart direct negotiations. These Arab states are anxious to do a deal with Israel and there are opportunities now that did not exist a few years ago. Will the Minister say what efforts our Government are making to work with our allies in the Middle East? We certainly cannot rely on Trump, in whom I fear the Palestinians have lost trust.