HC Deb 15 October 1990 vol 177 cc943-4 4.33 pm
Mr. Dave Nellist (Coventry, South-East)

I seek to move the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 20, to consider an urgent and specific matter which should have immediate attention, namely,

Britain's relations with the Government of Israel following the massacre at the A1-Aqsa mosque". Last Monday, 8 October, was the bloodiest day so far in Israel's 23-year occupation of Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Twenty-one Palestinians were slaughtered and 150 were injured when live ammunition was again used against civilians in the area of the old city which the Jews call the Temple Mount and the Moslems call the Noble Sanctuary; 11 Jewish worshippers were injured by stones in the lower area known as the western wall.

For five days last week, the United Nations laboured mightily—and, in my view, brought forth a mouse. The House should consider urgently whether three assistants from the Secretary General's office, sent as a mission 23 years after Israel's occupation, really constitute a serious response. Certainly, millions will contrast the rapid deployment of a task force to the Gulf following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait with the fact that, 23 years after Israel's invasion of the west bank and the Gaza strip, and after nearly three years of intifada, during which more than 800 Palestinians have been killed, the Secretary General is sending three assistants.

Should you, Mr. Speaker, grant it, the debate could and should illuminate this by considering the words of the former United States Assistant Defence Secretary, Laurence Korb, who said that the Gulf task force was obviously about oil because, if Kuwait grew carrots, we wouldn't give a damn. Well, the Palestinians may not grow many carrots, but they certainly grow olives and citrus fruit, and it seems that the world, or at least the bit represented in the Security Council of the United Nations, does not give a damn.

Yesterday, The Observer reported Palestinian doctors who treated survivors as saying that medical evidence showed that the police had fired wildly; and Doctor Mustapha Bargouti of the A1 Makassed hospital, whom I had the honour of meeting in Jerusalem about 18 months ago, spoke of indiscriminate shooting and in one case we found 14 bullets in one man". Of 120 people treated at his hospital, 32 were still being treated, including a four-year-old with a rubber bullet in his brain. What security risk was posed by a four-year-old seven days ago in the Noble Sanctuary to result in a rubber bullet in his brain?

I end with a call for a debate. There was no excuse for the slaughter. The middle east needs an end to these slaughters and to the occupation. As a socialist, I think that we need a federal solution that guarantees rights to a homeland for Palestinians and the state of Israel. Israel must come out of the occupied territories and these slaughters must end.

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Nellist) asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 20, for the purposes of discussing a specific and important matter that he believes should have urgent consideration, namely,

Britain's relations with the Government of Israel following the massacre at the A1-Aqsa mosque. I have listened with care to the matter that the hon. Gentleman has raised. As he knows, I have to decide whether to give his application precedence over the business set down for today or tomorrow. I hope that at some stage it will be possible to debate these important matters, but I have to say that the matter that he has raised today does not meet the requirements of the Standing Order and I therefore cannot submit his application to the House.