Miliband puts faith in democracy

Foreign Secretary David Miliband has called on Israel “as a beacon of democracy” to help find a political solution to its conflict with Hamas.

He told MPs that Israel argued against accepting UN resolutions which saw equivalence between a democratic state and a terrorist organisation.

“There is and can be no equivalence,” said Mr Miliband. Hamas had shown itself over a number of years “ready to be murderous in word and deed”.

Israel, on the other hand, was “a thriving, democratic state. One consequence of the distinction between a democratic government and a terrorist organisation is that democratic governments are held to significantly higher standards, notably by their own people.”

He criticised Israel for not allowing in more humanitarian aid and both sides for the loss of innocent lives and rejecting a ceasefire.

Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman complained that “Olmert, Livni and Barak... bring shame on the Jewish people whose star of David they use as a flag in Gaza, but whose ethos and morals go completely against what this Israeli government are doing”.

Mr Miliband replied: “The Jewish people have suffered enough for their history and deserve to be held to the same standards as every other nation state. I believe that the obligations that they have need to be fully implemented without fear.”

    Last updated: 10:30am, January 15 2009