HC Deb 05 May 1982 vol 23 cc135-6
3. Mr. Campbell-Savours

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will list those persons and organisations with whom Lord Carrington held discussions in Jerusalem during his recent visit to the Middle East.

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

During his visit to Israel from 30 March to 1 April my right hon. and noble Friend Lord Carrington met the President, Prime Minister, Defence Minister, the Speaker and other Members of the Israeli Knesset. Lord Carrington also visited the Weizmann institute of science.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

Is it not significant that the then Foreign Secretary was prevented by the Israeli authorities from meeting Mayor Shakaa of Nablus and Mayor Khalaf of Ramallah? If the noble Lord had met them, does the right hon. Gentleman recognise that he would have found two very civilised representatives of West Bank thinking, not Palestinian terrorism as they are being presented in the Western press? Will he protest to the Israeli Government about the treatment of those two mayors and about the lack of civil rights in the West Bank under Israeli jurisdiction?

Mr. Hurd

The hon. Gentleman is not quite right. The idea was that the Deputy Under-Secretary of State who was with Lord Carrington, Sir John Leahy, should meet a number of West Bank personalities. He could not meet all those whom he wished to meet, but he had useful conversations with two of them.

Mr. Walters

Quite rightly, the attention of the House is concentrated on the Falkland Islands. Does my right hon. Friend agree that the principle of self-determination, which we all uphold, is just as valid when applied to the Palestinians and that there will be a grave danger of war, and certainly no chance of lasting peace, unless that principle is recognised?

Mr. Hurd

I agree with my hon. Friend about the dangers in the Middle East and about self-determination.

Mr. Hooley

Will the Minister convey to Mr. Begin that a Bantu-style arrangement, under which 1¼ million Palestinian Arabs are third-class citizens, is no more acceptable in the Middle East than it is in South Africa?

Mr. Hurd

My noble Friend Lord Carrington went over that ground thoroughly with Mr. Begin. I do not think that there is any doubt about our position.

Mr. Lawrence

Is not the self-determination that we are talking about the self-determination of the Palestinian Arabs, not the self-determination of the Palestinians taking their orders from the PLO in Beirut?

Mr. Hurd

We are talking about the right of the people in the occupied territories to determine their own future—a right which so far has not been granted.