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Volume 448: debated on Thursday 6 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what monitoring is being undertaken by the UK Government to ascertain whether military equipment and components supplied to Israel from the UK are being used in the military incursions by Israel into Gaza which commenced on 27 June 2006. (82166)

In common with all of our diplomatic posts, our Embassy in Tel Aviv monitors local developments closely and notes any information which comes to light that military equipment supplied by the UK has been used in a manner inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria. The Government will take this into consideration when assessing any future export licence applications. The Government may also revoke relevant licence(s) and ask the authorities in the country concerned to investigate.

All export licence applications from the UK are rigorously assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Export Licensing Criteria, taking full account of the prevailing circumstances at the time of application.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate she has made of (a) the number of Palestinians taken by Israeli forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territories who are held in detention without trial and (b) the number of children taken and held in this way. (82170)

Administrative detainees are held in both Israeli Defence Force (IDF) and Israel Prisons Service (IPS) facilities. According to figures provided by the IDF to Israeli non-governmental organisations, the IDF was holding, as of 3 January 2006, 741 Palestinians in administrative detention. IPS told our embassy in Tel Aviv that, as of May 2006, 617 administrative detainees were being held in IPS facilities.

We are concerned at the policy of administrative detention, especially when periods of detention are repeatedly extended without trial and involves the detention of minors. We have made no estimate of the number of minors in Israeli prisons.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what response she has made to the agreement between Hamas and Fatah regarding acceptance of a two state settlement in Israel and Palestine; and what representations she has made to (a) the Palestinian Authority, (b) Israel and (c) the USA on the subject. (82172)

We would welcome any movement toward the three Quartet (EU, UN, US and Russia) principles: renounce violence; recognise Israel; and accept previous agreements, including the Roadmap. We are aware of reports that an agreement has been reached between Hamas and Fatah. We await an official announcement and further details. We will judge Hamas by their actions. We urge all parties to find a way back to negotiations, which are the best way of ensuring a lasting peace.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave the right hon. and learned Member for North-East Fife (Sir Menzies Campbell) on 28 June 2006, Official Report, column 255.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the Government have made to the Israeli authorities about the detention of elected Palestinian representatives. (82611)

[holding answer 4 July 2006]: At the G8 Foreign Ministers meeting in Moscow on 29 June, G8 Foreign Ministers called on Israel to exercise utmost restraint in the current crisis. They also expressed their concerns over the detention of elected members of the Palestinian Government and legislature.

On 30 June the EU raised its concerns

“about the detention of elected members of the Palestinian Government and legislature. Those detained should be accorded their full legal rights”.

We have made no representations to the Israeli authorities on their behalf.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information she has received on the (a) names of the members of the Palestinian Parliament and Cabinet who have been recently arrested by the Israeli authorities and (b) (i) where, (ii) on what charges and (iii) under what legal authority they are being detained. (82618)

[holding answer 4 July 2006]: Local media has reported that the names of the arrested members of the Palestinian Government are as follows: Omar Abdel Razeq, Dr. Samir Abu-Aisha, Khaled Abu-Arafeh, Wasfi Kabaha, Issa Al- Ja’bari, Fakhri Turkman, Sheikh Nayef Al-Rjoub, Muhammad Bargouti, Basem Za’raier, Khalil Raba’I, Samir Al-Kadi, Muhammad al-Tal, Muhamad abu-Jheishah, Muhammad Bader, Anwar Zboun, Mahmoud Al-Kahtib, Wael Al-Husseini, Muhammad Abu-Teir, Ahmad Atoun, Husni Bureini, Riyad Amli, Yassir Mansour, Ibrahim Dahbour, Ibrahim Abu-Salem, Khaled Abu-Hassan, Khaled Yahia, Ryiad Raddad, Fathi Kara’wi, Imad Nofal, Naser Abdel-Jawad, Abdel-Jaber Fuqaha, Muhammad Totah and Ali Romanin. The arrests took place in the West Bank.

Individual charges against those detained have not been made public. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that the arrest of these people

“was taken within the context of a normal legal criminal procedure with the intention of questioning those who were arrested. They are suspected of criminal offences...that constitute a violation of the law according to the Ordinance for the Prevention of Terrorism”.

Israel has said that those arrested will be entitled to legal defence and that

“in the event that there is no basis for putting someone among those arrested on trial, that person will be released”.