HC Deb 16 November 1970 vol 806 cc854-6
33. Mr. Longden

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the principles which govern Her Majesty's Government's policy towards a settlement of the Arab-Israeli dispute.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

The principle which governs our policy is that a settlement in accordance with the terms of Security Council Resolution No. 242 of November, 1967, would be in the best interests of all concerned.

Mr. Longden

When, sooner or later—and we all hope sooner—agreement is reached within the terms of that resolution and the boundaries of the State of Israel are finally fixed, does not my right hon. Friend agree that Israel may reasonably expect some guarantee of those boundaries so that she may continue to live in peace within them? What has my right hon. Friend to suggest for that?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

Yes, Sir. Without wearying the House, I think that the House will remember that on a number of occasions from the Opposition benches I have said that it was only reasonable that if there were to be a settlement, Israel should enjoy security comparable to that which she is able to enjoy from her own strength now, and I am sure that that is right. As to the actual form of the guarantee, I think that it would be better to wait for discussions between the parties.

Mr. Healey

While strongly welcoming the right hon. Gentleman's reassertion that Israel must enjoy equal security after a settlement to that which she enjoys today, may I ask whether Her Majesty's Government support bilateral initiatives to reach settlements of at least part of the problem such as, I assume, were envisaged by the recent meeting of the Israeli Deputy-Prime Minister with King Hussein of Jordan?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

I do not know that it is for Her Majesty's Government to support such approaches as have been reported to have been made by Israel. I think that it would be better if we wait to see what comes out of such conversations before Her Majesty's Government express a view.

34. Dr. Glyn

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the progress of moves towards the settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict in which British interests are involved.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

The cease-fire on the Suez Canal has now been extended. We hope that it will soon prove possible for Dr. Jarring to resume his mission.

Dr. Glyn

In thanking my right hon. Friend for that statement, may I ask him to confirm that his recent speech at Harrogate in no way altered Her Majesty's Government policy in this area?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

It does not. Anyone who read the speech from start to finish would see that at regular intervals I said that any settlement must be agreed between the parties.

Mr. Clinton Davis

Does not the Foreign Secretary recognise—this is something which did not appear from the Harrogate speech—that it is quite impossible to expect Israel to cede her hold on the Golan Heights, for example, from which her settlements were shelled incessantly over a period of 20 years? Will the right hon. Gentleman clarify his policy on this issue?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

That is quite right. I think that it falls under the heading of what I have just said, that Israel must have comparable security if a peace arrangement is to be made. During that speech, I was thinking, as I have often said before, of demilitarised zones properly guaranteed.