Three British lawmakers from both the Conservative and Labour parties – Andrew Percy, Louise Ellman and Sir Eric Pickles – on Tuesday stood up in Parliament and condemned Palestinian incitement, violence and terror tunnels.
Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood agreed with the three and condemned not only the incitement coming from within the Palestinian Authority (PA), but also the anti-Semitic attacks in Europe as a result.
“Israel has the right – in fact, I'd go more than that to say the obligation – to defend its citizens,” he said in response to Percy.
“We've been working hard with our colleagues to stamp out anti-Semitism wherever it is,” added Ellwood.
Asked by Ellman whether Hamas's rebuilding of its terrorist tunnels to attack Israelis from civilians makes a Palestinian state less attainable, the Minister said Ellman was “absolutely right.”
Ellwood said the tunnel rebuilding is not a confidence building measure, though he added that Israeli “settlement building” is not a confidence building measure either.
“We need to make sure that we empower the Palestinian Authority to make sure it has the ability to look after and take responsibility for the governors of Gaza. That is the way forward,” he added.
Finally, Pickles asked Ellwood about the difference between Israeli leaders and Palestinian leaders. While Israel condemns Jewish extremists and prosecutes them, the PA names schools and sporting events after terrorists and also glorifies terrorists on its television channels.
Here, too, Ellwood concurred, saying, “It's important that we actually see affirmative actions on both sides to reduce tension”, while noting the example of the PA Health Minister who recently condoned attacks.
“This takes us into the wrong direction,” he said.