HC Deb 28 November 1990 vol 181 cc863-4
14. Ms. Primarolo

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last made representations to the Israeli authorities about the arrest and detention of Palestinians in the occupied territories.

Mr. Douglas Hogg

During the visit of my right. hon. Friend the Secretary of State to Israel in October, he put to members of the Israeli Government our position on the treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories. We have made clear our concern about the recent detention of three Palestinian leaders: they should be charged or released. I made this plain to the Israeli ambassador last week, together with our view that administrative detention is unacceptable.

Ms. Primarolo

I am grateful to the Minister for that answer. However, will he again press the Israeli authorities specifically about the three prominent Palestinians who have been arrested without charge and gaoled without trial in circumstances that continue to inflame the already difficult situation in the west bank and Gaza? At this time of pressing for peace in the region, we should make it clear to the Israeli authorities that administrative detention is not a way to deal with people whom they believe may have committed crimes.

Mr. Hogg

I agree with what the hon. Lady said about administrative detention. I do not think that it is right, as I told the Israeli ambassador last week and as I shall do so again should convenient and appropriate circumstances arise. People who are held should be either charged or released. The process of administrative detention is not conducive to peace or to reconciliation.

Mr. Soames

Was my hon. and learned Friend able to garner from the Israeli ambassador any reason why the Israelis—who, after all, must know more about the terror of persecution than any other race on earth—should treat the Palestinians in such a contemptible manner?

Mr. Hogg

The Israeli ambassador advanced a number of arguments, but, in my view, the arguments in favour of administrative detention were unpersuasive and unacceptable.

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