[John Bercow in the Chair] — Israel and Palestinian Territories

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:11 am on 27th February 2008.

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Photo of Douglas Carswell Douglas Carswell Conservative, Harwich 10:11 am, 27th February 2008

I shall take three minutes, if I may.

Israel is often criticised for its policy on settlements and the closure of territories. It is easy to make those criticisms, but I believe that they are unfair and that the UK Government must not join in with them. What else is Israel supposed to do? Her actions are essentially defensive, not aggressive. Israel has dismantled settlements in trying to seek a two-state solution, limited the growth of settlements and removed illegal posts. In Gaza Israel went so far as to remove posts, despite considerable criticism within Israel for doing so, and has been paid for that with numerous rocket attacks.

As for the closure of territories, it is easy to portray the erection of the security barrier as a hostile act. We have all seen the photographs of the 5 per cent. of the wall that happens to be made of concrete, but again I believe that Israel's actions are essentially those of a defensive liberal democracy. It built the security barrier to prevent suicide bombings and sniper attacks. What would the Government of any western democracy do? I believe that, if the United Kingdom bordered not the North sea, St. George's channel or the Irish sea, but territories that Israel borders, and if there were numerous suicide attacks from within those territories, we would similarly want to put up a security barrier.