HC Deb 29 October 1975 vol 898 cc1582-3
37. Mr. Thorne

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with EEC Ministers regarding the Arab-Israeli situation; and what is his policy toward the Israeli settlements in occupied Arab territories.

Mr. James Callaghan

I discuss the Arab-Israeli situation regularly with my colleagues from the rest of the Nine, the last occasion being on 18th October: the details of our discussions are of course confidential. I regret any action by a party to the dispute which is likely to make the achievement of a just and lasting solution in the Middle East more difficult.

Mr. Thorne

As my right hon. Friend's knowledge of Zionist settlements in that part of the Middle East may have improved since he replied to a Question on 5th August, and following that assumed improvement in his knowledge, has he made any direct representations to the Israeli Government on this matter?

Mr. Callaghan

The answer to the first part of the question is "Yes". The answer to the second part is "No".

Mr. Greville Janner

Does my right hon. Friend agree that at the United Nations, at which the votes of the Arab-Soviet bloc on Middle Eastern matters make a persistent mockery of the organisation, the recent united efforts of the EEC countries to prevent the isolation of Israel are as fair as they are important?

Mr. Callaghan

I do not wish to embark on a review of the general attitude of the Arab States towards Israel, or vice versa, in a supplementary answer. What is clear is that the recent agreement between Egypt and Israel has carried the matter a stage further. I hope that this will be pursued in relation to Syria and Israel.

Mr. Luce

Is it not the case that the existence of Israeli settlements in Arab occupied territory is inimical to peaceful progress in that part of the world? Will the right hon. Gentleman urge EEC Ministers to take a common line and to make representations to Israel on this matter?

Mr. Callaghan

I do not think that that will emerge except as part of another step or as part of a comprehensive settlement.

Mr. Faulds

Does my right hon. Friend not agree that it is partisan and unacceptable that the EEC Parliament should make political protests about bomb attacks within Israel by guerrilla groups but make no protest about the official action of the armed forces of Israel, both military and air, against Lebanon?

Mr. Callaghan

It is not for me to comment on the activities of the European Parliament.