Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Chris Patten: end blockade, talk to Hamas

Conservative politician Lord Chris Patten has slammed Israel for what he called the “medieval siege" of the Gaza Strip, and called for the European Union to do more to end it.

    Lord Patten
    Lord Patten

    Conservative politician Lord Patten has attacked Israel for what he called the “medieval siege" of the Gaza Strip, and called for the European Union to do more to end it.

    In an interview with the Guardian while visiting Gaza the former cabinet minister and current Oxford University Chancellor described it as "easier to get into a maximum security prison in the UK than to enter Gaza."

    He called on the EU to take a position on Israel that is bolder and more independent from the United States and described the blockade of Gaza as "immoral, illegal and ineffective.”

    Israel has significantly eased in the last month to allow most civilian goods through, but Lord Patten added that the blockade is an impediment to persuading “Gaza and its political leadership to take a course which will lead to reconciliation and peace and stability.

    “It's difficult to know how you accomplish that if you deny the people of Gaza any social or economic progress."

    Lord Patten, who is president of Medical Aid for Palestinians, also said it is unreasonable to insist Hamas accept all past agreements before direct talks take place.

    Pointing to his experience with the Northern Ireland peace process, he said that rather than weakening Hamas, by isolating the militant group "you strengthen people who are even more extreme than they are.

    "You don't always agree with people you talk to – indeed sometimes you find them despicable – but you need to ease them out of the corners into which they've painted themselves rather than lay on the paint much thicker.”

    However he added: “It’s wholly reasonable to say we couldn't deal with Hamas unless they agreed to a comprehensive and complete ceasefire.”

    Despite his criticisms, Lord Patten, an observant Catholic who is overseeing the Pope’s visit to the UK in September, spoke against campaigns by pro-Palestinians to boycott Israel.

    He said. “I don’t think a boycott would help. It could have the reverse consequences to those intended."

Uk News

Hundreds of thousands view Holocaust denial talk

Rosa Doherty

Monday, May 22, 2017

Hundreds of thousands view Holocaust denial talk
Uk News

Livingstone decision shameful, says Tom Watson

Lee Harpin and Marcus Dysch

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Livingstone decision shameful, says Tom Watson
Uk News

Anti-Israel conference faces delay

Lee Harpin

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Anti-Israel conference faces delay
Uk News

Our day trip to a living nightmare

Rosa Doherty

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Our day trip to a living nightmare
Uk News

Strictly Orthodox Ukip candidate 'should not run for office'

Marcus Dysch

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Strictly Orthodox Ukip candidate 'should not run for office'
Special Reports

Dublin benefits from overseas aid

Barry Toberman

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Dublin benefits from overseas aid
Uk News

Dublin to fly Palestinian flag

Ben Weich

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Dublin to fly Palestinian flag
Uk News

Government drops pledge to aid 3,000 child refugees

Rosa Doherty

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Government drops pledge to aid 3,000 child refugees
Uk News

Limmud: Food for thought at session on 'ethical eating'

By Simon Rocker

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Limmud: Food for thought at session on 'ethical eating'