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Middle East: Peace Negotiations

Volume 498: debated on Monday 2 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the report of the UN fact finding mission of the Gaza conflict; and if he will make a statement. (296615)

As our ambassador made clear to the Human Rights Council, the UN fact finding mission on Gaza has its flaws:

not adequately recognising Israel’s right to protect its citizens or paying sufficient attention to Hamas’s actions;

making broad assertions about detailed interpretation of international law with which we differ; and

(because Israel did not cooperate) lacking an authoritative Israeli perspective so crucial to determining the legality of actions.

However, the report raises very important issues that are of serious concern and that we want to see addressed. Rocket attacks by Palestinian militants targeted at innocent civilians in southern Israel constitute a breach of international humanitarian law. The report also makes serious allegations about Israeli conduct and we urge the Israeli Government to carry out full, credible and impartial investigations into the concerns raised by the report.

The full text of our intervention can be found at:

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the US Administration on the Middle East peace process; and if he will make a statement. (296622)

The US Administration, from the President down, have made clear their commitment to restarting negotiations and continue to work towards that goal. We are offering them our full support, as my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary made clear to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on 11 October 2009 and Senator George Mitchell on 28 October 2009. While significant obstacles undoubtedly remain, the alternatives to credible negotiations towards a two-state solution are far worse.