HC Deb 13 June 1990 vol 174 cc287-8
18. Ms. Short

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next plans to meet a representative of the Government of Israel to discuss the middle east peace process.

Mr. Waldegrave

We regularly discuss with the Israelis the urgent need for peace in the middle east. They are well aware of our view that direct negotiation between Israel and representative Palestinians is an essential first step.

Ms. Short

Does the Minister agree that the formation of that extreme Government in Israel is deeply worrying—it is even supported by a party which calls for the expulsion of the Palestinians from the west bank and Gaza—that we need urgent action, and that the answer is for the United States to pressurise the Israeli Government into negotiations? Through the European Community, we could have a big new high-profile initiative to put pressure on America, which in turn could bring Israel to the negotiating table. Those matters are now very urgent.

Mr. Waldegrave

I share the hon. Lady's sense of urgency. Let us see what the new Government in Israel propose. Let us hope that they surprise us. Some of their supporters, as the hon. Lady says, were hard line in their previous statements, but let us see what they propose. What is needed is the dialogue to which I referred, and every day that passes makes that dialogue more urgently required.

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