Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Palestinian Prisoners

Delivered in Plenary - 9th July 2008

Mr President

Yet again the anti-Israel forces in this Parliament are seeking any opportunity to attack the Jewish State and yet again those of us who seek a balanced debate and a genuine peace in the Middle East are compelled to come to Israel’s defence. After all, Israel is a democratic country, which faces an existential threat from Jihadi terrorists and their cheerleaders, who are the very individuals currently held under administrative detention by Israel.

Concerning the issue of children, sadly children have been dragged into and recruited into the Intifada and even as potential suicide bombers by the terrorists.

I particularly question the need for this motion for a resolution at a time of a truce with Hamas, which has just stopped firing its rockets from Gaza at civilians, and also a prisoner exchange taking place between Israel and Hizbollah, whereby five terrorist prisoners were returned to their homes and families, whereas two Israeli soldiers will be returned in body bags. One of these terrorists – Samir Kuntar – murdered a young Israeli man by drowning him and then took the man’s daughter, smashing her on rocks and beating her skull with a rifle butt. He also killed a policeman. The Palestinian terrorists who hijacked the Achille Lauro – during which time they murdered an elderly Jewish man, throwing his body overboard – demanded Kuntar’s release.

Doing deals with terrorists brings with it a heavy price to pay for any democracy, but this is doubly so in Israel’s case. Samir Kuntar has vowed to resume Jihad against Israel now that he is set free.

I therefore applaud Israel’s courageous decision. I hope that it will ultimately bring positive results, but I fear not, because it is quite apparent that those who wish to destroy Israel as a state are gaining strength from politicians like Mrs Morgantini who table resolutions like this one at this moment in time.

While she is on the topic, she might also wish to examine an allegation in the British press of the torture routinely carried out in Palestinian jails against their own people both by Hamas in Gaza and, perhaps more surprisingly, by the Palestinian Authority itself.