My letter to constituents re: Israel-Hamas Conflict

Thank you for contacting me about the current situation in the Middle East following the recent Hamas terrorist attacks and the war in Gaza. 

You mention Early Day Motions but sadly I am unable to sign EDMs as I am a shadow justice minister.  

I have serious concerns about the deteriorating conditions in both Gaza and the West Bank. 

In Gaza, we must keep working towards the release of all hostages and a cessation of fighting as quickly as possible. 

I urge all sides not to squander progress made during the truce period. The levels of death and destruction over the past weeks has been intolerable. Far too many innocent Palestinians, including women and children, have been killed as part of military operations. There must be full accountability for all actions. As fighting sadly resumes, Israel must not besiege or blockade Gaza. They must comply with international law by protecting innocent lives and civilian infrastructure. 

Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank, with many more displaced due to air strikes, demolitions, settler and military violence and access restrictions. I am aware 2023 has been the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since casualty records began in 2005. I know there have also been attacks on Israelis and foiled terrorist plans, and threats and intimidation against Palestinians. 

I condemn violence, extremism and extremist rhetoric by Israeli settlers and want the Israeli Government to act to prevent these and ensure accountability for perpetrators. Israel has obligations as the occupying power under international law. 

The Israeli Government decision to withhold tax revenues from the governing Palestinian Authority are troubling. It risks weakening and destabilising the situation further. I call on the Israeli Government to reverse this and on the UK Government to make more diplomatic efforts with regional partners to support, strengthen and reform the Palestinian Authority and to stabilise the West Bank. 

I support entry bans for settlers who have been identified as being involved in serious criminal activity or in fostering hatred which might subsequently lead to inter-community violence in the UK. 

The reality is that neither the long-term security of Israel nor long-term justice for Palestine can be delivered by bombs and bullets. We must seek a path to a political process that leads to two states: a secure Israel and an independent Palestine. It is the only way to resolve this conflict once and for all.