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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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A Tragedy for Lebanon and Israel

Monday, July 31, 2006

I am deeply troubled by the violence in Lebanon and northern Israel, as well as parts of the Gaza Strip. It is a tragedy for those killed and injured and their families and friends. It is essential that governments do whatever they can to help engineer a sustained ceasefire, one that will stop the violence and lead to a peaceful resolution of the situation.  


As you are probably aware, the UK Government have condemned the killing of all civilians - Lebanese, Israeli and Palestinian. When Kim Howells, Foreign Office Minister, visited the region recently he was vocal in his condemnation, as well as calling for steps to be made towards a lasting peace.   


It will be difficult, neither Hamas nor Hezbollah recognise the right of the state of Israel to exist. In addition, Hezbollah declines to disarm its own armed forces as required to do by the United Nations. Unfortunately the Lebanese Government has not felt itself strong enough to impose its will in the south of the country and remains Government in name only.

 

There were hopeful signs before this upsurge in violence. A possible basis for an agreement between Hamas and Israel might have been the plan put together by Fatah and Hamas prisoners held in Israeli jails. This plan was seen as important because of the status prisoners have in Palestine. It provided a possible way forward from the stalemate following the Palestinian elections. 


However on the 25th June a small Palestinian armed group crossed into Israel and attacked and killed solders, kidnapping one. As I write the fate of the kidnapped Israeli soldier remains unknown. Any possibility of negotiations toward a more peaceful future ceased at that point of course. This was followed on the 12th July by a Hezbollah armed group crossing the border into Israel, killing soldiers and kidnapping two, whose fate likewise remains unknown.   


So whose interests did these two similar attacks on Israeli soil help? It seems very likely that Iran was involved, currently before the United Nations for breaking it’s resolutions regarding nuclear weapons. In addition, of course, Iran does not recognise the right of the state of Israeli to exist at all. It has no interest in peace in the Middle East, in a peaceful state of Palestine next to a peaceful state of Israel.

 


If we are to condemn the violence currently going on let’s condemn all the violence. If we are to try and help engineer a sustained peace let’s be clear about who are engineering war.


 

Meg Munn MP

July 2006


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