Occupied Palestinian Territories

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:45 pm on 29th April 2004.

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Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development, Party Chair, Co-operative Party 5:45 pm, 29th April 2004

I am grateful to the Select Committee for its comprehensive report. I agree with much of its analysis and many of its recommendations but, as Tony Baldry knows, not all of them.

The Palestine-Israel conflict is often in the headlines because of the ongoing level of violence and debates on the political process but rarely as a result of the humanitarian consequences that face the Palestinians. Rarely do the media throw a spotlight on the work of international development organisations in the Palestinian territories. The debate is therefore welcome and timely. It is through that prism that I intend to answer. By way of apology, I suspect that it will be difficult in the time available for me to do justice to all that has been said, but I will try.

One or two hon. Members alluded to the fact that, in parallel with the International Development Committee inquiry, the Department for International Development has been developing a country assistance plan to support the Palestinian territories. Our extensive consultation is drawing to a close, but I shall draw the many contributions made in this debate to the attention of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State before he comes to his conclusions on the plan.