§ 2. Mr. David Atkinson
asked the Lord Privy Seal what progress has been made in discussions as a result of the European initiative which may help resolve the current situation in the Lebanon.
§ Mr. Hurd
The European Community's efforts to help find a basis for a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israel dispute continue. Any such settlement, or significant progress towards it, would make it easier to find an answer to Lebanon's problems, but the differences within Lebanon can be settled only by agreement among the parties in that country.
§ Mr. Atkinson
Does my hon. Friend accept the real possibility of an early Israeli attack on Syrian forces in the Bekaa valley and an attempt by Christian Phalangist forces to eliminate the PLO in southern Lebanon? If so, will he consider initiating a Community fact-finding mission to find out what public opinion is in the Lebanon, with the aim of finding a peaceful solution to the problem and eliminating foreign occupation?
§ Mr. Hurd
My hon. Friend is right about the dangers, and makes an interesting suggestion. However, much is going on already. Mr. Habib is active in tackling the problem between Israel and Syria, the Arab follow-up committee is active in seeking reconciliation generally in the Lebanon and the United Nations is active, with our support, in tackling the problem in the south.
§ Mr. Mikardo
Does the Minister share President Sadat's recently expressed view that, although many factors have contributed to the awful situation in the Lebanon, the Syrians bear the major responsibility?
§ Mr. Faulds
Will the right hon. Gentleman convey to his European colleagues how offensive the Christian Lebanese find the Israeli pretence to be acting in their defence, both because only a minority of the Christians in Lebanon are supporters of the Fascist Gemayelist policies and because in Israel itself Christian proselytisers are persecuted?