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 Pickles Excerpts
Tuesday 30th January 2024

(4 months, 3 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Benyon Portrait Lord Benyon (Con)
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It is crucial to get the right amount of medical aid and food, and all the other types of sustenance the people of Gaza require. That means more trucks, more ships and more material getting across borders. That is our priority, and there are a great many organisations that can assist with the delivery of that; I listed them earlier. But the noble Baroness is right; UNRWA employs 13,000 people in Gaza and has provided essential basic healthcare, education, protection and vital humanitarian assistance for hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza. Some 1.7 million Palestinians in Gaza are eligible for UNRWA support. In Gaza, it operates 183 schools and two primary healthcare facilities. We want to make sure that we can use this agency as quickly as possible, but that is not stopping the level of compassionate support that the British people are giving to the people of Gaza. We are getting that aid in as quickly as we can, but we need those border crossings to be more functional.

Lord Pickles Portrait Lord Pickles (Con)
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My Lords, I draw attention to my entry in the register, particularly those relating to friendship with Israel. Does my noble friend remember that, when the International Court of Justice announced its inquiry, Hamas pledged to honour those interim judgments? The court has asked for the release of hostages. Is my noble friend disappointed that that has not happened—that Hamas has broken its word? If we are to recognise an independent Palestinian state before there is a lasting peace and mutual recognition of boundaries, what assurances does my noble friend intend to put in to ensure the safety of Israel? Or would the British Government be content, for example, with a sovereign Palestinian state entering into a defence arrangement with Iran?

Lord Benyon Portrait Lord Benyon (Con)
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I understand my noble friend’s concerns and hope that, through the process we can now move towards, we can address the 30-year failure of the international community to support a lasting solution. In Israel we have seen rising incomes and a state that is very advanced in its security, trade and the living standards of its population, but one thing that has not been delivered to the people of Israel, and which really matters to them and to Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, is security. That is what we want to achieve. We want a lasting security, and then Israel can continue to be a real force, both economically and culturally, around the world.