MPs warned over intifada threat

Israel’s ambassador to Britain Daniel Taub has told MPs that talks between Israel and the Palestinians could lead to a “complex peace”, similar to that forged in Northern Ireland.

Giving evidence to the Commons’ Foreign Affairs Select Committee this week, he said peace would not solve all the problems of the Israelis and Palestinians. “It’s exchanging one set of problems for another — but they are better problems,” he said.

Committee members questioned him on Israel’s approach to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the Jordan Valley, and the benefits of reaching a final agreement with the Palestinians.

Mr Taub said: “There is a profound commonality of interests between Israel and the Palestinians, and Jordan and maybe the Gulf states. If we can hold fast to the realisation that we actually have very fundamental strategic interests, that would be a big help in moving forwards towards peace.”

Committee member Mark Hendrick, Labour’s Preston MP, had to be called to order by chairman Sir Richard Ottaway after repeatedly questioning Mr Taub over West Bank settlements.

The Palestinian Authority’s UK envoy, Manuel Hassassian, told the session that Israel was attempting to “stall” the peace process through continued settlement building.

If talks failed, a possible third intifada would be beyond the PA’s control, Professor Hassassian predicted.

Meanwhile, a delegation of representatives from Jewish organisations met Faith and Communities Minister Baroness Warsi on Tuesday.

The minister displayed “a good grasp of communal concerns about antisemitism and security”, a source said.

Last updated: 10:15am, January 16 2014