Occupied Palestinian Territories

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:43 pm on 29th April 2004.

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Photo of Quentin Davies Quentin Davies Conservative, Grantham and Stamford 3:43 pm, 29th April 2004

If we had the whole afternoon and I was pressed to do so, I would refer back to the Balfour declaration and talk about an awful lot of things. The reason that I did not mention the Taba talks is that I think that Arafat, or some of his advisers, may have panicked and thought that they made an awful mistake at Camp David. They may have decided to try to regain some of the lost ground at Taba, but it was too late. That emphasises my point that they made a colossal mistake.

The hon. Gentleman started his intervention by saying, "I hope that the hon. Gentleman gets on soon to talking about the future and doesn't worry too much about the past." He has more or less conceded that he agrees that my analysis of the past is pretty near the mark and pretty near the truth. That must be the case since neither he nor Joan Ruddock contested the good sense of what I have been saying.

It makes no sense, in the circumstances, to criticise the Israeli Government. What has happened has been a product of the behaviour of the Palestinians, tragic and regrettable though that is. There is no question but that there have been many sufferers in Israel; many innocent people have lost their lives or been maimed and mutilated for life, which is appalling. Of a secondary order, in those terms, is the economic damage that has also been done to Israel. The Palestinians have suffered much greater human and economic damage, however, but it has been delivered to them by the actions of their own purported leader. In those circumstances, it makes no sense to criticise the Israeli Government for building the barrier.

I criticise the British Government strongly, and the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister in particular, for their criticism, which makes no sense, of the Israelis for taking action to deal with the leaders in this violence—those who have been planning and sending suicide bombers into Israel. I cannot think of a more horrific or perverted evil in this life than suicide bombing—we have seen recently that they have even sent children to deliver suicide bombs. The Israeli Government have been taking the action that any Government should take, including trying to take out the leadership of the movement that is organising that violence.