HC Deb 18 November 1981 vol 13 cc265-6
2. Mr. Adley

asked the Lord Privy Seal what information he has as to the number of British subjects who have been murdered in terrorist attacks in the Middle East since 1945, and in which countries.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Douglas Hurd)

I regret that I do not have to hand the information that my hon. Friend requires. It would take a great deal of time and money to collect it.

Mr. Adley

Although the world is full of yesterday's terrorists who are today's Prime Ministers, including, of course, the former leader of the Irgun Zvai Leumi organisation, does my hon. Friend agree that a man responsible for the murder of hundreds of Britons may not be the most credible source of a solution for peace in the Middle East? Will he therefore pursue a solution that gives both the Palestinians and the Israelis a right to their own nations?

Mr. Hurd

I think that my hon. Friend will agree that the past is the past, and that, on the whole, it is more sensible to concentrate on the present and to try to get, both from the Government of Israel and from the Palestinians and other Arabs, a recognition of each other's rights.

Mr. Jessel

If my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch and Lymington (Mr. Adley) wants to go back all the way to the 1940s, will my hon. Friend the Minister of State remind him that 6 million Jews were murdered in concentration camps, which is why the Israelis are bound to be sensitive on any matter concerning their security? Does he agree that that makes it totally unrealistic to expect them to hand over strategic positions to people who are sworn to destroy them?

Mr. Hurd

I do not mean to accompany either of my hon. Friends into the past. It is recognised that Israel's security needs exist, that they are real and that any negotiation for peace must take them into account. Equally, the Government of Israel must ask themselves whether Israel's security needs are best based on the military occupation of Arab lands.