Major refuses to lay blame for killings
House of Commons
John Rentoul is chief political commentator for The Independent on Sunday, and visiting professor at Queen Mary, University of London, where he teaches contemporary history. Previously he was chief leader writer for The Independent. He has written a biography of Tony Blair, whom he admired more at the end of his time in office than he did at the beginning.
Friday 19 April 1996
John Major said he wanted to discuss "this dreadful loss of innocent life" with other heads of state at the meeting of the G7 world economic powers.
"What we have to look at now is how we can prevent a recurrence," he said, adding that he had been in touch with French President Chirac, US President Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Perez and Lebanese Prime Minister Harare.
He said he thought a solution was "possible and I don't think we are a long way away from such an agreement".
He refused to take sides in the argument about responsibility for the start of the crisis in south Lebanon.
"Everyone can look back at the Hizbollah attacks in Israel and the Israeli attacks in the Lebanon. That is non-productive. What is productive is to make sure it doesn't happen again," he said.
In the Commons, Michael Heseltine, the Deputy Prime Minister, also trod a careful line supporting the Israeli government without endorsing its attempts to punish Hizbollah guerillas in south Lebanon. He told MPs that, looking at the issues involved in "the attacks that Hizbollah have been making on Israel ... it is quite apparent that one is facing a near- intractable problem of the deepest concern to the international community."
He was pressed by Labour backbench critics of Israel, including George Galloway (Glasgow Hillhead), who condemned the Israeli attack as a "reckless orgy of violence".
Mr Heseltine said he had personally seen Fijian troops - who sustained many of yesterday's casualties - serving for the UN. "They are an immensely impressive force and they do a wholly desirable task on behalf of the wider world," he said.
Malcolm Rifkind, the Foreign Secretary, said he was "gravely concerned" at the shelling.
At Westminster, MPs divided along pro-and anti-Israel lines. Emma Nicholson, the former Tory MP who crossed to the Liberal Democrats, said the attack was "utterly unbelievable". She said: "The Israelis must stop. They are losing sympathy fast, but much more importantly they are harming and hurting countless civilians and killing even children."
Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination
- 3 Are you ready for Crazy Doritos, the red-hot snack food craze sweeping Mexico’s streets?
- 4 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 5 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Isis in Kobani: US resupplies Kurdish fighters by plane - then Turkey allows reinforcements through its border
Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming street artist's identity has been revealed
Super-sized ships arrive in Britain: How big can they get?
Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Secon...
£60 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Seconda...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Java Developer...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Ilford: School Office/ Finance Assistant Long t...