Britain’s Middle East Minister has said young Palestinians have given up on their leadership of Mahmoud Abbas and have instead chosen “a fast track to paradise” by killing Israelis.
The comments from Tobias Ellwood MP came in a House of Commons debate on Thursday, when MPs resolved to urge the Israeli authorities not to continue expanding settlements.
Ellwood criticised the lack of confidence-building measures on the Palestinian side, saying: “We need the Palestinians to do more to prevent the incitement of violence. President Abbas condemns certain aspects of it, but we are still seeing schools and squares being named after terrorists.”
He added: “The younger generation has given up on its own leadership, choosing instead to try to take a fast track to paradise by grabbing a knife and killing an Israeli soldier, and that is a terrible state of affairs to be in.”
The minister also criticised the latest Israeli law legalising dozens of outposts of Jewish settlers in the West Bank that Israeli judges have long deemed illegal.
Ellwood said “a new and dangerous threshold was crossed with that Bill” but added that he was pleased that Israel’s Attorney-General has said he will not support it if it goes to appeal. “That is good, because he sees it as constitutionally unviable. I hope that message is heard loud and clear.”
Expressing her “deep disappointment” about the Conservative government’s unwillingness to recognise a State of Palestine, Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry urged a rethink, saying: “Now is the time.”
She also suggested Ellwood consider highlighting settlement produce, asking: “What thought have the Government put into how settlement goods could be separated from other Israeli goods, as many people do not wish to buy settlement goods? Are the Government doing any further work on that? How can we persuade British companies not to invest in settlement areas?”