Monday, April 24, 2006

A view from the House of Lords

A letter to the times last week:

Hamas choice

Sir, Lord Wright of Richmond, (letter, April 11), in his plea for the EU and the US to reconsider their position on Hamas, fails to mention the offer, made a number of times, by Ehud Olmert to the Palestinians to negotiate the withdrawal of Israel from the West Bank. Providing, of course, that Hamas do not come to the negotiating table with the demand that Israel should be destroyed.

In the absence of that precondition, and in the continued rocket attacks on Israel and suicide bombing attempts, Israel will be forced into trying to define borders which offer it security. This plan will see withdrawal from 97 per cent of the West Bank. The offer to Israel, the size of Wales, by the Arab League, the size of Europe, that they might consider recognising Israel’s existence is hardly magnanimous and takes no account of the attitude of Hamas on its doorstep.

Lord Wright suggests that the British experience in dealing with the Mau Mau and Eoka should encourage talk with terrorists. The critical difference for Israel is that its very existence is threatened, which was hardly the case for the UK. The prospect for peace between Israel and the Palestinians will be entirely dependent on the two parties entering negotiations, but not under the threat that one party intends the destruction of the other.

LORD TURNBERG House of Lords

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