HC Deb 06 March 1996 vol 273 c344
27. Mr. Ernie Ross

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the middle east peace process. [17289]

Mr. Rifkind

Despite the recent tragic events in Israel, we very much hope that the peace process will continue to make progress.

Mr. Ross

The whole House will be glad that we have managed to reach this question, so that it can express its condolences to the families after the latest terrorist incidents in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Will the Secretary of State join me in welcoming the courage and vision shown by Prime Minister Peres in his determination to stick with the peace plan? Does he share the concern that we need to do more in the hiatus between now and 29 May, when Israeli elections will take place, to ensure that the peace negotiations continue, if at all possible? Will he join me in sending the best wishes of this Parliament to the inaugural session of the Palestinian Legislative Council, which will meet in Gaza tomorrow for the first time?

Mr. Rifkind

I agree with the hon. Gentleman. One of the most impressive responses to these ghastly incidents was the demonstration by Palestinian women against terrorism, showing that they support the peace process pursued by Prime Minister Peres and President Arafat and by all those who have the best interests of Palestinians and Israelis at heart.