From a statement by British Minister of State David Mellor in Jerusalem Jan. 6:
My visit has coincided with unrest in the West Bank and Gaza, and I have visited some of the affected areas. No one can visit Gaza without bringing away the most vivid impression of appalling living conditions in a little stretch of land bursting at its borders.
When I spoke on this in Gaza, I spoke as a lifelong friend and supporter of Israel. Many friends of Israel now feel the same way. . . .
Even on so short a visit one can draw some clear conclusions:
First, the recent unrest reflects a deep despair and a patriotism which cannot be ignored and which must be met with something more constructive than repression.
Second, neither Israeli security nor Palestinian rights can be permanently ensured by violence or terrorism.
Third, the desire for peace. Both sides want it. Both must work for it. That means movement -- on both sides.
In the British government's view, the best way ahead in current circumstances is the convening of an international conference as a framework for negotiations between the parties directly concerned. The objectives of an international conference should be twofold:
To provide for the security of all states in the region, including of course Israel, within recognized borders.
To protect the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to self-determination.