The recent events in Israel and Gaza have been truly horrifying. Hamas’ terrorist attack on October 7th killed the highest number of Jews in a single day since the Holocaust, while the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza is playing out on an unimaginable scale.
More than 10,000 people have reportedly now been killed in Gaza, with two thirds of the dead being women and children. Every single death is a tragedy.
I want to see an end to the violence as soon as possible but, sadly, both sides in the conflict have made it clear they will not agree to one.
Short pauses are an important first step but will not provide the impetus required to relieve this crisis. The damage to pipelines and other infrastructure to key facilities, including hospitals, needs to be rectified, and that requires a longer pause. The aid getting through to Gaza remains completely insufficient. That is why we need to see the release of all hostages and a full and immediate humanitarian pause across the whole of Gaza, leading to an enduring cessation of fighting. It is right that Britain should work with partners like the US, EU and Arab States to make this happen.
There are clearly desperate shortages of basic essentials. The aid that is arriving is completely insufficient to meet the scale of humanitarian need. Hospitals are struggling to operate and water and sewage systems are breaking down. The international community continues to demand that the siege conditions on Gaza be lifted, but that has still not happened. That is absolutely unacceptable. Aid, fuel, water, electricity and medicines must be ramped up as a matter of urgency.
The recent events have massively set back the cause of peace in the region and there must now be renewed focus involving the wider international community on a negotiated, diplomatic settlement to the long running Israeli-Palestinian conflict that ensures a safe and secure Israel alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state. I remain firmly of the view that there can be no military solution to this conflict.
I am following this ongoing situation closely and pressing for the UK Government and our international partners to do everything they can to support innocent civilians in Israel & Gaza and bring this to a peaceful conclusion as soon as possible.
I have also received many letters and emails from constituents and I will continue to strongly articulate the views and opinions that I have received whenever the conflict is being discussed in meetings in Parliament and elsewhere.