Urgent action needed in the Middle East

At Prime Minister’s Questions today, Liberal Democrat Leader, Ming Campbell MP called for immediate action to avert a tragedy in the Middle East:

A full transcript of today’s exchange is below:

Ming Campbell:
May I begin Mr speaker by associating my Honourable and Right Honourable Friends with the expressions of condolence and sympathy, which we have just heard from the Prime Minister. Given the urgency of the hostage crisis and the significance of the role of the United States in the Middle East, has the Prime Minister discussed the present situation with the President of the United States?
Prime Minister:
We discuss the issue to do with the Middle East and Israel and Palestine every time I speak to the President and I haven’t spoken to him in the last 24 hours or so, but this is a major part of any conversation we have, because it is extremely important. We believe, both of us believe, to make sure that we restart a peace process there, which is the only way to stop events like the terrible events of the last 24 hours and in the end what is necessary obviously is to make sure that peace and calm is restored so there is some possibility of getting negotiation going.
Ming Campbell:
The Prime Minister will agree that this is a particularly crucial moment. What joint actions will the President and the Prime Minister take in order to capitalise on the apparent willingness of Hamas to accept a negotiated settlement and a two state solution?

It would be a tragedy if that possibility of progress were derailed by the hostage crisis.

Prime Minister:
I mean, I think I understand what the right honourable gentleman is saying, but of course if Hamas is prepared to commit itself to a two-state solution, and to negotiate a settlement, that necessarily must mean that they are committed to the existence of Israel and to the renunciation of violence rather than negotiation as a way of achieving that settlement.

And the point is, if they would be clear on those issues, if in fact they would be prepared to return to the road map, which used to be the thing that he and his Honourable Members asked me to endorse and carry forward, and I still want to, if they were prepared to do that, then I can assure him, not just on my own behalf, but on behalf of the President as well. America, the quartet, would be willing to take this process forward as swiftly as possible, but we need to know if a two state solution is what we are negotiating, that both sides to that negotiation, are committed to the existence of the other state.

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