Occupied Palestinian Territories

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:55 pm on 29th April 2004.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of James Clappison James Clappison Conservative, Hertsmere 4:55 pm, 29th April 2004

It may well be that in due course historians will look with great interest at exactly when the intifada was prepared.

As far as the Palestinian leadership—Yasser Arafat—is concerned, I hear what the Committee has said and I agree with the tone of the comments that my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury made about Mr. Arafat's backward-lookingness and with the analogy that my hon. Friend drew with the situation in Northern Ireland. Of course we should be prepared to welcome people who have used terror in the past to the ways of peace, and it is possible for terrorists to become leaders and statesmen. However, if, once they have set out along that path, they forsake statesmanship and return to terrorism and violence, there is a danger that they will lose credibility altogether. We would not, as a nation, negotiate with a leader who had behaved in that way; I very much doubt that we would. We would not be prepared to negotiate.