– Gerald Kaufman (intervening on Malcolm Rifkind): “Will he draw attention to the use by Israel of illegal chemical weapons in Gaza—white phosphorus? Surely Israel, too, has such weapons, and we should take that into account in looking at the spectrum.”
– Liam Fox: i.a.: “To exchange an Iran-friendly and Hezbollah-friendly Assad regime for an anti-west, anti-Christian and anti-Israel al-Qaeda regime does not seem to offer us any advantage.”
– Paul Flynn (intervening on James Arbuthnot): Chemical weapons were used against the people in Gaza, in the form of phosphorous bombs.
– Julian Lewis: Raises the fear that if Assad is attacked, on the “perceived” basis of Israeli intelligence, he might retaliate with a chemical attack against Israel and Israel would retaliate in turn.
– Gerald Kaufman: i.a.: “Israel used white phosphorous in its attack in Gaza in Operation Cast Lead—I saw the consequences for myself when I went there—but Israel gets away with it because it is on the right side of what is regarded as civilised opinion.”
– George Galloway: On the so-called “unreasonable” use of the veto: “The United States has vetoed every attempt to obtain justice for the Palestinian people and to punish and issue retribution for international lawbreaking on the part of Israel, and nobody in this House has said one word about it.” [Matthew Offord, intervening, says constituents tell him that Galloway said on Press TV that Israel supplied the chemical for the attacks in Syria; Galloway denies he said it]
– Mark Kendrick: Raises fear of escalation possibly involving Israel and Iran.
– Jeffrey Donaldson: Raises fear of escalation possibly involving Lebanon, Israel and Iran.
– Ben Gummer: Refers to “our alarm at the use of chemical weapons next to a NATO ally, Israel, which we have a unique duty to protect.”
– Bob Blackman: Raises fear of escalation at Israeli border, which could escalate problem of ME conflict. “At the moment, this House has endorsed the principle of direct peace talks between the Palestinians and the Israeli Government.” Escalation “would destabilise those talks and probably end the chances of peace in the middle east for ever. That is the key issue.”
– Mike Gapes: Asks what would happen if Assad gave chemical weapons to Hezbollah, which could use them against Israel.
– Mark Durkan: Raises fear of “radicalising a whole new generation of Muslims…. as they see again a western-driven intervention in this situation, but the west failing to act on continuing excesses and violations against the Palestinians, including the use of chemical weapons, which everybody knows were used.”
– Sarah Wollaston: Without reference to Gaza or Palestinians, describes the horrific nature of white phosphorus.
– Paul Flynn: Refers again to Israeli use of phosphorus bombs. “We stood by then—we did not do anything.”
2. Syria debate:[In summary: The danger of escalation involving Israel was raised by the following: Lords West; Jay of Ewelme; Williams of Baglan; Robertson: Desai; Wigley; Baroness Udin and Baroness Royall]
– Lord Wright: Asks if our objective is designed to be a warning to Iran, for Israel’s benefit.
– Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer: Says nuclear weapons are even worse than chemical. “In political circles here you hear….. almost nothing about Israel’s obdurate refusal even to discuss its nuclear weapons. Nevertheless, we can sell Israel £8 billion of arms.”
– Lord Phillips of Sudbury: (extract) “If one considers what is happening in Israel and Palestine, the fact remains that Israel is colonising the West Bank by military force and has been doing so for more than 20 years. The colonisation goes on and on, and Gaza is under siege. What happens? We go on supplying arms and America goes on giving financial support.”
– Lord Judd: Raises the plight and destabilising effect of Syrian refugees. “Just think of the story of the Palestinian refugees and how that is being compounded by this situation.” And: “Military action would have great implications for any prospect of a Middle East settlement and peace between the Palestinians and Israelis.”
– Lord Winston: Referring to Ha’aretz on “the perception….. that somehow Israel is responsible for this situation in some way”, he says: “Israel sees itself surrounded by Syrias. It is surrounded by nations that are not likely to take democratic action in the way that we would expect. It is inevitable, therefore, that it hardens its heart and appears to be a great deal more intransigent. We have to be extremely careful how we handle the whole issue of the Middle East.”
– Baroness Tonge: Questioning the source of the intelligence, asks: “What is the significance of the large delegation of Israeli security officials in Washington this week, having talks all week with US National Security adviser Susan Rice?” On the danger of retaliation by Syria and its allies: “What would we do as a country if Israel was attacked? People in the Government of Israel, some of them in the present Government, make Mr Netanyahu look like a pussycat. There are some quite difficult characters there. Is it true that Israel has missile systems supplied by the USA which could deliver nuclear weapons?” Finally, if we do take action: “Can we then hope, from now on, that the Government will call to account every country that breaks international law in the future whether or not they are our friends or allies?”
– Lord Dobbs: i.a.: “I also wonder whether, if we strike Syria because of its chemical weapons, it means that we have to support Israel if it strikes Iran because of its nuclear capabilities.”
– Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn: Bombing Syria would run “the risk of total instability in the Near East and with the Israel/Palestine question never far from the surface.”
3. Lord Judd: Further to their statements on the responsibility of UK security companies operating in Israel and the obligations in the Fourth Geneva Convention in respect of the Israeli Prison Service, what discussions have HMG had with the police and CPS on any apparent breach of the Convention? [Lord McNally: “I can confirm that no conversations have taken place between the Government and UK police forces or the Crown Prosecution. However, as previously stated we have made clear to Israeli authorities, including the Minister for Prison Affairs and the Attorney-General, our concerns about Israel’s treatment of Palestinian detainees. As noted by Alistair Burt, the Foreign Office Minister, we have also discussed this with G4S who have confirmed they will not renew a number of security contracts in the West Bank.”]
Lords Written Answers