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Middle East Peace Talks

Volume 619: debated on Tuesday 10 January 2017

10. What steps he is taking to promote the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. (908039)

We are using every forum at our disposal to try to encourage both sides to get to the negotiating table. It is deeply frustrating. I join hon. Members on both sides of the House who have condemned the appalling attack on—the murder of—four Israeli soldiers at the weekend. All I can do is repeat what we have said: the only way forward has to be a two-state solution, and that is why it was important to restate the Government’s position in resolution 2334.

The General Secretary of the UN has warned about Iran’s activities in arming Hezbollah in Lebanon through its base in Syria. What can the Foreign Secretary do to combat this growing menace to the prospects of any peace in the region?

It is very important to recognise that Iran is a malign influence across the region, and we must be very vigilant about what it is doing. On the other hand, we have to engage with Iran. I think the JCPOA—joint comprehensive plan of action—does represent, still, a substantial and valid way forward, and it would be regrettable if we were to junk that process now.

22. In looking at the steps to promote peace talks, what effect does the Foreign Secretary think the current level of Palestinian violence is going to have on that process? (908052)

As my hon. Friend will know, the level of violence, as we have discussed, has been down by comparison with 2015, but it is still too high. I think it was important, therefore, that the resolution, which has been so much discussed this morning, had that balance in it and that language in it pointing out the threat that Israel faces. It is important that we stress that, and that we encourage the Palestinians to understand that there can be no hope of peace unless they get their extremists under control.

I am pleased that the Foreign Secretary is using every forum to bring peace. Will he, therefore, be attending the Paris conference, and what new initiative will the UK Government be putting forward there?

I can certainly assure the right hon. Gentleman that the UK Government will be attending the Paris talks and we will be reinforcing our message, which is that we think that both sides must get round the table and negotiate. That is the only way forward. It would be folly now to abandon a two-state solution, because, in the end, a one-state solution is not in the interests of Israel.