§ 13. Mr. David Watkins
asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will raise at the United Nations Israeli conduct in the occupied territories, which is contrary to internationally accepted conduct on the part of occupying powers.
§ Mr. Hurd
The United Nations Security Council is discussing the situation in the occupied territories at this moment in response to a Jordanian request. We have made clear our grave concern at recent developments on the West Bank, including the dismissal of the three mayors, and our hopes for an end to the violence which can only harm the prospects for a settlement.
§ Mr. Watkins
In addition to those points, and recognising that many matters could be so raised, will the Government make a special point of raising the forcible and illegal closure of Bir Zeit university with the harassment of staff and students, which has now occurred for the fifth time in five years?
§ Mr. Hicks
Does my hon. Friend agree that we are concerned not only about the closure of Bir Zeit university but about the closure of many other university and education establishments? Surely it is the wider aspect as well as the specific one that the Government should be drawing to the attention of the United Nations in the context of any resolution.
§ Mr. Hurd
As I tried to explain in answer to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence), we believe that many elements have built up this explosive situation on the West Bank, and through the Security Council and by other means we are trying to see what we can do to reduce the temperature.
§ Mr. Hurd
The hon. Gentleman will be familiar with the Geneva convention, which deals with the rights and practices open to an occupying power when it militarily occupies another territory. We believe that some of the activities of the Israeli military Government in recent months have run counter to that. We also believe that it would be sensible for all concerned in the area to accept resolution No. 242, which calls for withdrawal from occupied territories, and to accept the right of Israel to exist in security.