Situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories Debate

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Department: Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

Situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Lord Dobbs Excerpts
Tuesday 30th January 2024

(4 months, 2 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Benyon Portrait Lord Benyon (Con)
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The British Government have never defined what genocide is; we leave that for a court to do. However, we do not believe that this qualifies as genocide. We accept, and are pleased by, the ruling of the court in its calls for the release of the hostages and for the necessity of getting aid into Gaza.

Lord Dobbs Portrait Lord Dobbs (Con)
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My Lords, the Minister referred to the failure of the international community for 30 years or more in this matter. That implies that, if a two-state solution is to be brought about, as the Foreign Secretary said last night—and I very much welcome his remarks, and indeed the very balanced remarks of the Opposition, if I may say so, this afternoon—that surely implies that simply asking them to bring about a solution is not going to be enough. It requires more than just persuasion, and possibly a degree of international coercion on both sides, to bring about a solution in the wider interest. That is difficult when the Israeli Government, as at the moment, do not believe in and have rejected a two-state solution. Does the Minister have any ideas how the real problem of Hamas might be dealt with in this ongoing discussion?

Lord Benyon Portrait Lord Benyon (Con)
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None of these solutions is entirely in our gift. We do not have the ability to wave a wand or send a gunboat or do all the things that Foreign Ministers might have done in centuries past. It comes down to really hard work and old-fashioned diplomacy. That is what my noble friend the Foreign Secretary, the Prime Minister, other Ministers, my noble friend Lord Ahmad—who has been ceaselessly working on this—and the Diplomatic Service have been trying to draw together. We think we have a thread which can lead towards a solution. We have to be positive about this. If you just think of the world as it exists—my noble friend referred to 8 October, the day after the attack—it is so bleak and depressing that you can hardly see a way forward. But there is a solution and we know it can work. It comes down to working with our partners, and, most of all, working with the Government of Israel and with sensible people in the Occupied Territories, to make sure that we can have a solution which is free of Hamas and gives lasting security to the Palestinian people and Israeli citizens.