Report: UK Hamas boycott wrong

Britain should make efforts to form a new unity Palestinian government in the West Bank and Gaza, the House of Commons' Foreign Affairs Committee said in a report on the Middle East.

Report: UK Hamas boycott wrong
Britain's refusal to speak to the Hamas is counterproductive, a parliamentary committee said on Monday, and efforts should be made to form a new unity Palestinian government in the West Bank and Gaza.

Pursuing a "West Bank first policy" — where Britain deals with the West Bank, which is run by the more secular Fatah group, and isolates the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip — would further jeopardise peace, the House of Commons' Foreign Affairs Committee said in a report on the Middle East.

"Given the failure of the boycott to deliver results, we recommend the government should urgently consider ways of engaging politically with "moderate" elements within Hamas," the all-party group of lawmakers said.

It said Britain's former prime minister, Tony Blair, should personally engage with Hamas to help reconciliation in his new role as envoy for the Quartet of Middle East mediators—the United States, the European Union, the United States and Russia.

Britain has joined in a Western political and financial embargo of Hamas by the European Union and the United States.

The parliamentary report also recommended Britain press President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Fatah group is backed by the West, into negotiations with Hamas to re-establish "a national unity government across the occupied Palestinian territories".

The committee said Britain had erred in enforcing the embargo against Hamas even after the group agreed in February to form a unity government with Fatah. That agreement was aimed at ending internal violence and easing Western economic sanctions.

The sustained boycott of the Palestinian government, due to Hamas's presence in it, meant the effort at unity had been "highly likely to collapse", the report said.

The committee also called for a new approach to ending the Arab-Israeli conflict. It reaffirmed the goal of a two-state solution but said the US-backed "road map for peace", drawn up in 2002, "has largely become an irrelevance".

Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians have fulfilled their commitments under the plan, which calls for Israel to halt settlement building in the occupied West Bank and the Palestinians to dismantle groups.

The report called on Prime Minister Gordon Brown's government to improve its influence in the Arab world because of damage it said had been done to Britain's reputation by its policies in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

Reuters
Last Mod: 13 Ağustos 2007, 23:18
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