HC Deb 29 October 1980 vol 991 cc469-70
6. Dr M. S. Miller

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on progress in establishing a Middle East settlement; and if he will ensure that Her Majesty's Government give no formal recognition to the Palestine Liberation Organisation in any negotiations so long as the organisation continues to call for the destruction of the State of Israel.

2. Mrs. Reneé Short

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will give an undertaking that no Minister will meet representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organisation until the Palestine Liberation Organisation has agreed unequivocally Israel's right to exist in secure recognised boundaries.

Sir Ian Gilmour

We have consistently called on the the PLO to accept Israel's right to a secure existence, and will continue to do so. That would be an essential element in any settlement, but it would not be helpful to the cause of peace for us to tie our hands by giving any such undertaking. But our policy on recognition of the PLO remains unchanged.

Dr. Miller

When the right hon. Gentleman and his right hon. Friend consider the criteria to be adopted as regards the granting of statehood, will he make clear that no people can expect to become a State if they try, or threaten, to obliterate another nation?

Sir I. Gilmour

The hon. Gentleman knows our policy, because it is embodied in the Venice declaration. That means recognition by the PLO of Israel's right to exist, and recognition by Israel of the Palestinians' right. That is our policy, and will remain our policy.

Mr. Walters

Does my right hon. Friend agree that this might be an opportune moment, given the European initiative, for the EEC Governments to point out forcibly to the Government of Israel that the best solution would be for the PLO to recognise Israel's right to existence behind secure and guaranteed borders at precisely the same time as Israel recognises the rights of the Palestinians to self-determination and to a State of their own within 25 per cent. of Palestine?

Sir I. Gilmour

That solution has been put forward for many years by Dr. Nahum Goldmann, who, as the House knows, is an extremely distinguished—if not the most distinguished—Zionist. That is one way forward. At present it is not the way that is most likely to prevail.

Mr. Hooley

Has there been any indication from Israeli sources that the State of Israel would give any recognition whatsoever to the rights of the Palestinians to live in their own independent State?

Sir I. Gilmour

I understand that Israel is still strongly opposed to any independent Palestinian State.

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