Results 1–20 of 1062 for (in the 'Commons debates' OR in the 'Westminster Hall debates' OR in the 'Lords debates' OR in the 'Northern Ireland Assembly debates') speaker:Matthew Offord

Palestinian Communities: Israeli Demolitions — [Mark Pritchard in the Chair] (6 Dec 2017)

Matthew Offord: I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving way and I apologise for being late; I had a meeting with the Bahraini ambassador. I was rather bemused by this debate, because although I know that the hon. Gentleman regularly speaks at the Centre for Turkey Studies, I have never heard him speak about Turkish settlers from the mainland in north Cyprus—200,000 people who invaded north...

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (13 Nov 2017)

Matthew Offord: I remain a critic of the Iranian nuclear deal for many reasons, including the fact that human rights were not coupled with it. It was greatly disappointing that the Leader of the Opposition, who was paid to appear on Iranian Press TV, did not take the opportunity to criticise human rights in Iran, but instead agreed with and contributed to anti-Israel and anti-western bias. Does the Foreign...

Sexual Harassment in Parliament (30 Oct 2017)

Matthew Offord: May I gently remind the House that this issue is not just about sexual harassment and it is not just about women. Bullying is systemic in the House. Earlier today, I received a text from someone describing a problem that he saw in this place. It said of a current Member: “He is utterly foul and I am sure it’s a pattern of behaviour on his part, but in this instance I don’t...

Centenary of the Balfour Declaration (25 Oct 2017)

Matthew Offord: We have had a fairly good debate. It was more positive than I anticipated, so I am grateful to the Members who have contributed. In particular, I thank the hon. Member for Bury South (Mr Lewis), my hon. Friend the Member for Henley (John Howell), the hon. Member for Liverpool, Riverside (Mrs Ellman), my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Theresa Villiers), the hon. and...

Centenary of the Balfour Declaration (25 Oct 2017)

Matthew Offord: I beg to move, That this House has considered the centenary of the Balfour Declaration. I did not turn up for my previous Westminster Hall debate because I was stuck on the tube, so there is something about me and Westminster Hall debates that does not seem to work. It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Austin. It has been almost a year since we last convened in this place to...

Centenary of the Balfour Declaration (25 Oct 2017)

Matthew Offord: Not in the middle of the quote. The letter continues: “it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

Centenary of the Balfour Declaration (25 Oct 2017)

Matthew Offord: I certainly do recognise that. Only two days ago, I finished reading a book by Rev. Leslie Hardman, who, as my right hon. Friend may know, was the first Jewish chaplain to enter Belsen. He was a constituent of mine until his death in 2008. In his biography, he talks about the people who were in the camps and how they felt that, after the second world war, Europe was not a place for them. They...

Centenary of the Balfour Declaration (25 Oct 2017)

Matthew Offord: That is a very constructive intervention. I certainly agree, and I hope to discuss that as my speech progresses. I thank the hon. Gentleman and hope that the debate continues in that spirit. In a mere 67 words, the United Kingdom set in motion a chain of events that led to the historic birth of Israel, one of the world’s most vibrant democracies. The United Kingdom has a lot to be proud...

Centenary of the Balfour Declaration (25 Oct 2017)

Matthew Offord: Perhaps I should investigate whether there is something on WikiLeaks, because two Members now have intruded upon issues I wised to attend to as part of my speech. I certainly agree with my right hon. Friend. A peace process should involve both parties; neither should be absent, and talks should not be sought when one party is absent. [Sir Roger Gale in the Chair]

Centenary of the Balfour Declaration (25 Oct 2017)

Matthew Offord: I can only agree with that sentiment. Once again, I will come on to that in my speech.

Centenary of the Balfour Declaration (25 Oct 2017)

Matthew Offord: That is a very sensible contribution, and I am grateful for it, particularly given the hon. Gentleman and his family’s experience of the troubles in Northern Ireland. [Sir David Crausby in the Chair] Thank you, Sir Roger, and welcome to the Chair, Sir David. It certainly is a revolving chair this afternoon. I feel that there is much more to our deep bilateral relationship with Israel...

Centenary of the Balfour Declaration (25 Oct 2017)

Matthew Offord: I am afraid I do not agree with that at all. Some of those businesses, including SodaStream, are providing opportunities for employment to the people in the occupied territories—opportunities for employment that do not exist elsewhere—and a lot of those people are remunerated to a higher level than their peers and neighbours who are not similarly employed.

Centenary of the Balfour Declaration (25 Oct 2017)

Matthew Offord: I agree that that is something we can be proud of. Those of us who have visited Israel and its tech hub and universities see the innovation and advancement in biochemical technologies, medicine and a range of sciences that is happening in a place that, not long ago, was simply desert, as my hon. Friend says.

Centenary of the Balfour Declaration (25 Oct 2017)

Matthew Offord: I shall move on with my speech, but I will take further interventions shortly. The work of the UK-Israel working group highlights the importance of our trade relationship. I hope that Israel will be one of the first countries that the United Kingdom signs a free trade deal with when we eventually leave the European Union. Israel’s and Britain’s security services are working around...

Centenary of the Balfour Declaration (25 Oct 2017)

Matthew Offord: I agree with the hon. Gentleman. Boycotts are divisive, counterproductive and harm everyone. The way forward, as he says, is through trade.

Centenary of the Balfour Declaration (25 Oct 2017)

Matthew Offord: We will certainly follow international law, but we do not want to negotiate and work with people who wish to see the destruction of Israel. Hamas is a leading proponent of that—part of its foundation is that it does not want the state of Israel to exist. I would not agree with negotiating or working with Hamas. We will work with the Palestinian authorities and others who are actually...

Centenary of the Balfour Declaration (25 Oct 2017)

Matthew Offord: I agree, and I will come on to what happened in 1948 and again in 1967. It is often forgotten that Israel has not been the aggressor. Others have decided that they want to attack Israel, and Israel has decided to defend herself.

Centenary of the Balfour Declaration (25 Oct 2017)

Matthew Offord: They did, and the people who were harmed the most were those who fled the fighting, many of whom were Palestinians and others who had resided in Israel and no longer do—a point I will come on to. There can be no doubt that Lord Balfour would have been proud of the unbroken bond between Israel and the United Kingdom that we share today. Since its inception, the state of Israel has stood...

Centenary of the Balfour Declaration (25 Oct 2017)

Matthew Offord: I agree with that understanding of the declaration, but I will move on. Arabic is Israel’s official second language—I thought it was English. Many of the road signs are in Hebrew and Arabic. Just like all Israelis, the Israeli Arab community have freedom to practice their faith. The Palestinians today refer to Israel’s war of independence as “al-Nakba”, meaning...

Centenary of the Balfour Declaration (25 Oct 2017)

Matthew Offord: I do not accept that at all.


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