HC Deb 13 April 1983 vol 40 cc793-4
10. Mr. Cunliffe

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the recent Arab League delegation, led by King Hussein of Jordan, gave any commitments that the countries represented in the delegation will recognise the state of Israel.

Mr. Hurd

King Hussein made it clear on behalf of the Arab League delegation that they were committed to the Fez principles, one of which calls for the Security Council to guarantee peace among all states of the region.

Mr. Cunliffe

As the Foreign Secretary, unfairly in my opinion, accused Israel today of total inflexibility on the Reagan plan, will he list any occasion on which Israel has denied the legitimate rights of any Arab state within the United Nations?

Mr. Hurd

Israel continues to occupy part of the Lebanon, to increase settlements on the West Bank and to deny self-determination to the Palestinians living in the occupied territories. That is part of the reason—only part of the reason—why President Reagan's peace plan has arrived at the present deadlock.

Mr. Dykes

As the PLO demonstrated a staggering lack of realism, and indeed courage, in refusing to allow King Hussein of Jordan to negotiate on its behalf for the good of the Palestinians, does my right hon. Friend think that it is time for those negotiations to embrace other than PLO supporters among moderate Palestinians?

Mr. Hurd

We certainly think that the PLO has failed to take advantage of an opportunity that would have been important not only for the Palestinians, whom it claims to represent, but for the area as a whole. The King of Jordan has come to the conclusion that he cannot proceed further under the Reagan plan without agreement with the PLO. We must respect the reasons for that decision.

Mr. Roy Hughes

With regard to recognition, is it not rather farcical that American leaders should accuse the PLO of being responsible for the breakdown in the peace negotiations when they refuse even to speak to this body, which is the officially recognised mouthpiece of the Palestinian people? Is it not also farcical that at the same time they say nothing about the increased programme of Israeli settlements on the West Bank and the installation by Israel of sophisticated military equipment in the Lebanon? Will the Minister try to put some backbone into these American leaders so that they can stand up on these matters?

Mr. Hurd

The Americans have made clear their views about the Israel settlement policy and are doing their best through Mr. Habib to bring about the withdrawal of all foreign forces, including Israeli forces, from the Lebanon.

Mr. Sainsbury

Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is not entirely satisfactory that one has to infer from statements on the Arab side that they might recognise Israel, as they cannot bring themselves to mention the name of the country? Is my right hon. Friend aware that some of the countries in the area publish maps which omit to show the state of Israel, which is not a safe situation? Surely it is this insecurity that is created in Israel by this refusal of recognition that is leading to the problems on the borders, for instance with Lebanon.

Mr. Hurd

I agree that it is fuzzy and unsatisfactory. As my hon. Friend knows, we have been urging the PLO for some time to make it clear without fuzziness and ambiguity that it would be ready clearly to accept Israel's rights when Israel makes it clear that she is ready to accept Palestinian self-determination.