Middle East

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:03 pm on 7th June 2006.

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Photo of Richard Burden Richard Burden Labour, Birmingham, Northfield 3:03 pm, 7th June 2006

When I was in Gaza three or four years ago with my hon. Friend Jeremy Corbyn, we met a number of Palestinian groups and happened to meet the person who is now the Foreign Minister of the Palestinian Authority and a member of Hamas. Most of the discussion involved us saying why suicide bombings were morally wrong and why they did no good for the Palestinian cause. That discussion led to a dialogue. I am not suggesting that we should say anything other than that Hamas should recognise Israel and give up violence, but my experience indicates that fostering a dialogue would be much more effective than pushing Hamas into a corner. I think Mahmoud Abbas would agree with that.

The final point that I would like my right hon. Friend to address is Karni, and the customs dues and levies that Israel is still withholding and the restrictions on trade to the Palestinian Authority that Israel is still imposing. What are we going to do about that?