THURSDAY 4 FEBRUARY 2016
1.Craig Whittaker: What discussions has Foreign Secretary had with the Israeli government on tackling the spread of Daesh in the Middle East?
- Bob Blackman: What assessment has Home Secretary made of policing on university campuses following the violent protests and criminal damage by demonstrators at an Israel Society event at King’s College London last week?
Nos 2-3 Commons Written Answers
- Baroness Tonge: What discussions have HMG had with the government of Israel concerning the charges brought against those convicted of the killing of Samir Awad?
- What representations have HMG made to the government of Israel concerning the claim by a resident in Bardala that the Israeli army and water company have taken their water and are selling it back to villagers?
- Baroness Tonge: What representations have HMG made to the government of Israel regarding the demolition of a Palestinian tree nursery by the Israel Defence Forces that had previously been robbed by Israeli settlers?
- Baroness Tonge: What representations have HMG made to the government of Israel following the arrest and detention of Nasser Nawaj’a?
- Baroness Tonge: What representations have HMG made to the government of Israel concerning the detention of Mohammad Faisal Abu Sakha?
Nos 3-7 Lords Written Answers
WEDNESDAY 3 FEBRUARY 2016
- Questions to DfID Secretary:
– Jim Cunningham: What are the Government doing to help end the blockade of Gaza?
– Justine Greening: The hon. Gentleman raises an important point. Having a viable economy in Gaza is one of the best ways to enable people living there to face many of their challenges effectively. In the meantime, the UK provides key support to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and more directly with the Palestinian Authority. It is critical for those blockades to be removed in the end, so that we can restore a normal situation that would enable the Gaza strip to get back on its feet.
Commons Oral Answers
- Andy McDonald: What assessment has DfID Secretary made of the humanitarian effect of the planning process in Area C of the West Bank?
- Hilary Benn: Do marketing standards conformity certificates issued by Israel covering consignments of fresh fruit and vegetables grown in the occupied Palestinian territories indicate that the products they cover originate in Israel? [George Eustice: The Horticultural Marketing Inspectors have no reason to believe that these certificates do not contain correct information. In 2012, the European Commission announced that their research into Israeli/Palestinian export certificates “did not reveal any evidence of non-conformity regarding the indication of the country of origin”. The Commission also reaffirmed the requirement that the origin needed to be clearly indicated whether it was Israel or an Occupied Territory.]
Nos 2-3 Commons Written Answers
- Lord Stoddart: In the light of the nuclear agreement with Iran, do HMG plan to make representations to the government of Israel to accede to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and agree to the same level of inspection now accepted by Iran? [Baroness Anelay: The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is the cornerstone of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament and for peaceful uses of nuclear energy. All state parties should be pushing for universality of the treaty. In that regard, the Government continues to call on all states that are not parties to the NPT, including Israel, to accede to it, and we also continue to call on Israel to agree a full scope Comprehensive Safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency.]
Lords Written Answers
TUESDAY 2 FEBRUARY 2016
- Baroness Tonge: What discussions have HMG had with the government of Israel concerning the students from Birzeit university who are currently in prison; and what assessment have they made of the government of Israel’s treatment of Palestinian students?
- Lord Alton: What assessment have HMG made of the impact of the remarks by Sheikh Abu Taqi Al-Din Al-Dari delivered at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and posted online on 16 January, that “the basic principle is that the Islamic state should work to conquer the world through Jihad for the sake of Allah” and that “it must conquer Rome, Washington, and Paris”; and, in the light of the recent visit to the UK of the Grand Imam of Al-Aqsa, are they in discussion with him about the effect of incitements to violence?
MONDAY 1 FEBRUARY 2016
- Palestine: Question asked by Baroness Tonge: Does HMG plan to recognise Palestine as a state?
– Baroness Anelay: The United Kingdom retains the right to recognise a Palestinian state when we judge it can best help bring
about peace. We strongly believe that achieving a negotiated solution to the conflict is a priority and that bilateral recognition alone would not end the occupation.
– Baroness Tonge: I thank the Minister for that Answer—the usual answer, if I may say so. Is she aware that, at the United Nations General Assembly on 22 December last year, the UK representatives voted for a resolution that recognised the,
“Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied … Territory, including East Jerusalem … over their natural resources”? Could the Minister please explain to the House how the Palestinians can have this control unless we follow the example promised by the French Government in the last 24 hours since their offer of talks has broken down? Can we not do this and recognise Palestine as a sovereign state and persuade other countries to do so? Will the Minister also explain how, in the mean time, the Government will seek to protect the few remaining natural resources that the Palestinians have before Israel takes them all?
– Baroness Anelay: The noble Baroness refers to a United Nations resolution. She may be aware that our team in the United Nations, led by Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, negotiate the best terms they can with regard to resolutions so that the language is as close to being realistic as possible, but there always have to be compromises on those matters. We did so against the background of maintaining the policy that I set out in my first Answer: that it is important that we have a negotiated solution. That is when there would be a two-state solution, and that would be followed by a discussion about the ownership of resources. Sadly, we are not in that position yet. I note what the noble Baroness says with regards to the reports today that the French Foreign Minister, Monsieur Fabius, has announced that the French will try to organise an international conference on the Middle East peace process in the coming weeks. Whatever conferences we have, and however welcome an exchange of views, the only thing that will bring about peace is for both Israel and the Palestinians to come together to agree those terms; terms that I have set out in detail on previous occasions.
– Lord Polak: History teaches us that, when an Arab leader has direct talks with Israel, the result is territorial compromise and peace – look at Jordan and look at Egypt. Does the Minister agree that, instead of political point-scoring, Members of this House – I draw the attention of the House to my non-financial interests* – could use their influence with the leadership of the Palestinian Authority to encourage them to stop inciting their young people, and really help the Palestinian people by encouraging them to return to the negotiating table without delay? [ed: *Director (unpaid), Conservative Friends of Israel Limited; Director, Cedarsoak Limited (provides secretariat to All-Party Britain-Israel Parliamentary Group); Director, Yavneh Foundation Trust (owns the land and buildings from which Yavneh College operates); Honorary President (unpaid), Conservative Friends of Israel]
– Baroness Anelay: All those who have the interests of peace at heart will want to bring together the sides that disagree to negotiate. I notice that, just recently, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon made the following comment, “as we continue to uphold the right of Palestinians to self-determination, let us be equally firm that incitement has no place, and that questioning the right of Israel to exist cannot be tolerated”.
– Lord Grocott: We all like the language of a negotiated solution, and sooner or later that is what must happen. But does the Minister agree that there is an increasingly uncomfortable comparison between the way in which the international community responds when Russia is involved in breaches of international law by violating its boundary with its neighbouring country and the response of the international community towards Israel, which for more than 50 years has violated international law by the occupation of a neighbouring country, by the building of a wall and by the continuing illegal occupation that makes a two-state solution nearly impossible? Is it not time that we had a more robust response to these flagrant breaches of international law?
– Baroness Anelay: The noble Lord is right to point out that the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories flouts international law. We have made that clear in the past. We have urged Israel to obey the law and have pointed out that it should withdraw. The position that Israel takes on occupying Palestinian territories makes it more difficult to achieve the two-state solution that we wish to see.
– Lord Pannick: Did the Minister see the report in the Times last week that two Palestinian journalists in Gaza had been arrested and tortured by Hamas because they had written newspaper articles critical of that administration? Can she assure the House that there is no question of recognising a Palestinian state associated with Hamas until basic civil rights are respected?
– Baroness Anelay: We have made it clear that Hamas needs to stop its aggressive actions and sending its rockets into Israel and that the Palestinian Authority needs to take responsibility and control of the administration in Gaza to avoid incidents such as that described by the noble Lord.
– Bishop of Norwich: Does the Minister agree with the position taken in October 2014 by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and the Church of England bishops that, “it is the reasonable aspiration of all peoples to belong to a state and enjoy the merits of full and active citizenship”? Although the security of Israel is an absolute requirement, would not a principled recognition of Palestinian statehood facilitate rather than hamper renewed negotiations?
– Baroness Anelay: I do not believe that it would. It would not of itself bring about what we need, which is an agreement for a two-state solution. It would be throwing away a key negotiating card.
Lords Oral Answers
- Lord Kilclooney: Are there any restrictions on the supply of gas or electricity to Gaza, and if so, what representations have been made to the government of Israel by HMG or the EU on behalf of its member states?
Baroness Anelay: Less than 50 percent of Gaza’s basic electricity needs are currently being met. This is a result of the limited capacity of the existing power lines from Israel (providing approximately 120 Mega Watts (MW) at present) and Egypt (approximately 32 MW), and of the Gaza power plant (60 MW). The plant is not run at full capacity because of damage sustained in past conflicts and restrictions on the amount of diesel allowed into Gaza. Officials at our embassy in Tel Aviv regularly urge the Israeli authorities to ease restrictions on Gaza and to facilitate improvements in electricity infrastructure. On 10 September, during Israeli Prime Minister Mr Netanyahu’s visit to the UK, the Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron), and the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), emphasised the need for Israel to do more to improve conditions in Gaza. They discussed electricity, as well as water and exports.
- Baroness Deech: What representations have HMG made to the Palestinian Authority concerning incitement to violence in the light of the Palestinian Ministry of Health referring to Nashat Milhem as “one of the dearest martyrs”?
Nos 2-3 Lords Written Answers