Members of the House of Lords discussed the progress of the Middle East peace process on Wednesday 4 May. The question for short debate (QSD) coincided with the signing of a reconciliation accord by the leaders of Fatah and Hamas – the two main Palestinian factions – in Egypt yesterday afternoon, bringing to an end years of division between the two groups.
Issues discussed during the debate included the:
- implications and consequences of the Cairo reconciliation pact between Fatah and Hamas, icnluding the plans for a joint interim governmnet and 2012 general election;
- current civil unrest and demonstrations in the region;
- NATO campaign in Libya;
- political situation in Pakistan;
- Palestinian children and the Israeli judicial system.
Baroness Tonge (Liberal Democrat) tabled the question and opened the debate.
Contributors to the debate
Other Members of the Lords who took part included (use the links below to watch/listen to their contributions):
- Lord Hannay of Chiswick (Crossbench), chair of the UK United Nations Association and former head of the Middle East departments at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office;
- Lord Sacks (Crossbench), the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth and President, Council of Christians and Jews;
- Lord Judd (Labour), Member of the London School of Economics Advisory Board of Centre for Human Rights, and former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Defence (1974-76) and Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (1977-79);
- Lord Pannick (Crossbench) Chairman, Legal Friends of Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
Baroness Verma (Conservative), responded on behalf of the Government.
Members of the Lords can table a question to allow a short debate in order to gauge the opinion of the House on a topical issue that ends with a government reply.
Questions for short debate are taken at the end of business or during the dinner break. The debates last for up to one hour and usually involve a small number of speakers.
Short debates used to be referred to as ‘unstarred questions’.
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