Lord Palmer in House of Lords Debate on understanding of the Middle East

LDFI Vice President Lord Palmer of Childs Hill spoke in a debate in the House of Lords on 23 February on increasing understanding of the Middle East.

Monroe Palmer said: “My Lords, the question is how to increase understanding of the Middle East. I am just back from an all-party Peers’ visit to Israel and the West Bank. We met Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Rivlin, who were far more positive than we had been led to believe. Does the Minister believe that the Israelis are prepared to come to the negotiating table without preconditions?

We also went to Ramallah to lunch with leading Palestinians. I must say that our meeting with them was profoundly disappointing, to the extent that they ended by blaming the British for the lack of a Palestinian state, ignoring completely the fact that prior to 1967 it was well within the powers of Jordan and Egypt, who respectively controlled the West Bank and Gaza, to have created a state of Palestine when there were no Israeli settlers in those areas. Can the Minister say whether the UK Government are making efforts to move the Palestinians out of past gripes and to think positively about what is achievable, and also ask them whether they will come to the negotiating table without preconditions?

We received a frightening presentation on the radicalisation of Palestinian youth in schools and in sport. It must say something when Palestinian sporting events are named after so-called martyrs who killed Israelis. Have the UK Government any views on how to stop this education of hate?

We also visited the town of Sderot and the moshav Netiv HaAsara, right on the border with Gaza. The people there live in and out of bomb shelters, which has saved lives but has caused great trauma particularly for the kids, who know of no life without shelters and safe rooms at home and in school. Have the UK Government views on why this life of trauma receives so little publicity in this country?”

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