New Forest East


Dr Julian Lewis: I thank the hon. Gentleman [Stephen Williams] for giving way, and may I also say what a pleasure it is to see an alumnus of Dynevor grammar school, Swansea [Nigel Evans], occupying the Speaker's Chair today?

Why does the hon. Gentleman think that Israel is imposing such an extreme blockade if the solution is, in fact, as simple as he sets out?

[Stephen Williams: I am certainly not going to deny that part of what is taking place is self-inflicted. Obviously, the rocket attacks on villages in the south of Israel are outrageous, and we made it clear in the meetings we had with various political representatives in Gaza that there had been wrong on both sides, but the state of Israel has an army at its disposal, whereas the inhabitants of Gaza are 1.5 million people who are at the mercy of a superpower on their doorstep, and those superpowers, whether Israel or Egypt-or the states that, perhaps, control and influence their foreign policy from much further afield-are, effectively, playing with the destinies of men, women and children, as the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Sir Gerald Kaufman) mentioned. That is not the way to build peace and understanding for the future, and I think we have a right to expect rather more from the democratic state of Israel than it has shown so far. That leads me to my final point.]