A few weeks ago Michael Ancram called for talks with Hamas and today the House of Commons’ Foreign Affairs Select Committee has done the same. Its Chairman Mike Gapes MP has written for The Guardian to explain his Committee’s reasoning.
Stuart Polak of Conservative Friends of Israel has issued a statement calling on the party to remain steadfastly opposed to any talks with Hamas until the Quartet’s principles are fulfilled:
“The Conservative Party has consistently maintained there needs to be moves by Hamas toward a full acceptance of the Quartet Principles before any engagement with them. The Foreign Affairs Committee may conclude differently but both David Cameron and William Hague have been clear in refusing to talk to Hamas. To my understanding, the Conservative Party’s position is unchanged and resolute. Hamas has not fulfilled the three basic requirements set by the Quartet, recognition of Israel, renunciation of violence and acceptance of previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements. The Committee also welcomed Hamas’s help in securing the timely release of Alan Johnston – yet Gilad Shalit has been held in Gaza for over one year and rockets continue to land on the citizens of Southern Israel every day from Hamas controlled Gaza.”
In a speech on 2 July 2007, Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague said:
“Any way forward requires Hamas to make credible movement towards the full acceptance of the Quartet principles. It is urgent that they stop rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza if they are going to show that successful political engagement with them will one day be possible.”
At the most recent CFI Business lunch, 12 June 2007, David Cameron said:
“When it comes to Hamas we have to be very clear about the Quartet principles; until they recognise the state of Israel, until they put an end to violence and accept previous agreements…they really have to move toward those principles in a big way before they should get any Western money and Western support.”