Page last updated at 13:10 GMT, Wednesday, 21 November 2012

PMQs: Cameron calls for 'courageous leadership' in Gaza talks

Prime Minister David Cameron has called on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to display "courageous leadership" in talks on ending the conflict that has seen rocket attacks on southern Israel and airstrikes in Gaza.

At his weekly Commons question session on 21 November 2012, Mr Cameron said: "While we all want this process and we all want this peace, in the end peace can only come about by Israelis and Palestinians sitting down and talking through the final status issues.

"They have to discuss borders, Jerusalem, refugees. In the end, as President Obama is fond of saying, and I would agree with him, we cannot want this more than they want it."

Labour leader Ed Miliband told MPs: "This week has shown us once again that there is neither peace, nor a peace process."

The exchanges came after at least 10 people were reportedly injured in an explosion on a bus in Israel's commercial capital, Tel Aviv.

Mr Miliband said: "The reality is that the international community does bear some responsibility for the abject failure of having those meaningful negotiations, nine years on from the promise of the road map for peace."

He urged the PM to back the Palestinian Authority's bid for enhanced status at the United Nations.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said an application for Palestine to become a UN "non-member observer state" will be presented to the UN General Assembly on 29 November, despite US and Israeli opposition.

Approval would require a simple majority of those present to vote in favour.

Mr Miliband predicted that approval of enhanced status would "strengthen the moderate voices among the Palestinians who want to pursue the path of politics and not the path of violence".

Mr Cameron said he hoped that the vote might yet be avoided, and the UK government had not reached a final decision on how it would vote.

But he warned that the bid could be "dangerous" for the peace process and could result in a "cut-off of funds for the Palestinian Authority and all the consequences that could follow".

The PM said: "It is our view that the Palestinians should not take this to the UN in the short term and we've urged them not to do that."

He explained: "In the end the point is this: we will not solve this problem at the United Nations. This problem will be solved by Israelis and Palestinians sitting down and negotiating."

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