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Monday, 10 December, 2001, 17:24 GMT
Duncan Smith attacks Mid-East coverage
Hamas supporters
The Tory leader had strong words on Hamas
UK broadcasters including the BBC have been accused by Iain Duncan Smith of conferring a degree of "legitimacy" on groups such as Hamas by not branding them "terrorists".

The Tory leader told the Conservative Friends of Israel that Hamas and other groups such as Islamic Jihad were intent on destroying Israel.


Surely it is time that our national broadcasters...stopped describing Hamas and Jihad with such euphemisms as radical and militant

Iain Duncan Smith
There was, therefore, no mileage in trying to appease such groups and to not identify them as terrorists was "fudging" the issue.

Mr Duncan Smith told his audience, at the Savoy Hotel in London that he backed the view of US President George W Bush that it was time for people who wanted peace to "rise up and fight terror".

He also welcomed recent moves to freeze the assets of terrorist groups.

Mr Duncan Smith added: "Against this background, surely it is time that our national broadcasters, not just, but including the BBC, stopped describing Hamas and Jihad with such euphemisms as radical and militant?

"Let us call things what they are: they are terrorist organisations."

'Absurd'

Mr Duncan Smith was addressing a pro-Israeli Tory group
Iain Duncan Smith

"Such fudging of what Hamas or Islamic Jihad are confers some sort of legitimacy on people who are terrorists.

"Such misappropriation is absurd when even Palestinian moderates in Jerusalem describe the suicide bombers as terrorists."

A recent spate of attacks by Palestinian suicide bombers have resulted in the deaths of dozens of Israeli civilians in recent weeks.

Israel's armed response has been forceful with a series of attacks by their military against targets in Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority which have killed Palestinian civilians, including two children on Monday.

Mr Arafat himself has come under sustained pressure amid claims that he is not doing enough to stem the activities of extremists.

Mr Duncan Smith said that Hamas and Islamic Jihad were "not interested in peace".

Zero tolerance

"They demand nothing less than the destruction of Israel and all that it stands for," he said.

He said that Israel had the right to defend itself and that the Palestinian Authority had to show that it would "no longer tolerate terrorism".

"More than that, it must never again allow terrorists to justify their monstrous acts in the name of the Palestinian cause," he said.

Mr Duncan Smith also turned his attention to the wider battle against terrorism in the wake of the 11 September attacks in the US.

"Our fight against terror must not stop in Afghanistan. The days of safe havens for terrorists are over. No longer can we appease or turn a blind eye to regimes that support terrorism."

Discipline required

He went on to describe Israel as a "lighthouse of democracy in a troubled region".

Turning to the domestic agenda Mr Duncan Smith emphasised the need for his party to have discipline if it was to have a chance at gaining power.

"Our party must once again be disciplined and determined to return to government.

"We must inspire people to believe that we are on their side - our policy must be about helping people to achieve."

See also:

10 Dec 01 | Middle East
Israeli missiles kill two children
07 Dec 01 | Middle East
Palestinians divided over Hamas
04 Dec 01 | Americas
US targets Hamas finances
27 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Duncan Smith defends terror policy
29 Nov 01 | UK Politics
Tory leader meets US vice-president
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