As the terrible situation in Gaza and Israel continues many constituents have been in touch with me to express their views – thanks to all of you who have.
The violence in Gaza and Israel is horrifying. The killing of civilians is appalling. Millions of Palestinians and Israelis are living in constant fear. The violence absolutely must end.
My view and the position of the Labour Party is very clear. The UK government must join international calls for a ceasefire. We urge the government to work for a UN Security Resolution to ramp up pressure on Israel and Hamas to accept a ceasefire and bring this cycle of violence to an end. There is no military solution to this conflict.
We strongly condemn the indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas and other militant groups which target Israeli cities and have killed Israeli civilians. Such attacks are completely unacceptable.
We strongly condemn Israeli air strikes that have caused more than two hundred civilian casualties, including dozens of children. This is heart-breaking and indefensible. There can be no justification for actions that have caused such high numbers of civilian casualties and which have destroyed medical facilities, schools and the offices of international media outlets.
It is legitimate for Israel to take defensive actions to prevent rocket attacks, but these must be proportionate and consistent with international law. Every possible step must be taken to protect civilians.
There must be urgent humanitarian support for Gaza, which already faced a desperate situation prior to this latest outbreak of violence. There must be an end to the blockade which has led to an acute humanitarian crisis. At the same time, the UK should work with our allies and international partners to do all it can to disrupt the flow of rockets and military technology into Gaza.
Once this cycle of violence is brought to an end, it is absolutely essential to address the root causes of injustice and insecurity. There will not be a just and lasting peace until the occupation is brought to a permanent end and both Palestinians and Israelis enjoy security, dignity and human rights.
The Labour Party remains totally committed to the goal of a two-state solution. The continued violations of international law, forced evictions and expansions of illegal settlements are changing the facts on the ground and making the prospect of a viable, sovereign Palestine alongside a safe and secure Israel all the harder to achieve.
The UK government must demand an end to the forced evictions of Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and an immediate halt to all new settlements. Settlements and evictions violate international law, entrench divisions, and make peace harder to achieve. Labour has made these points to the government repeatedly.
Sacred sites of all faiths must be treated with the utmost respect. There must be no repeat of the recent scenes at the al-Aqsa Mosque.
The Labour Party supports the recognition of Palestine as a state, as nearly 140 other countries have done. Parliament voted to recognise Palestine as a state in 2014 but successive Conservative led governments have failed to take this clear parliamentary mandate further.
This afternoon in the House of Commons, Labour have asked the Government’s Foreign Office Minister to make an urgent statement on what it is doing to help end the violence and killings and we will be reinforcing the above points again.