A ceasefire requires both sides in a conflict to agree to one.

It cannot be imposed. It can only be negotiated.

As much as we would wish it, neither the Hamas leadership nor Netanyahu and his government are prepared to contemplate it at the moment. Both have publicly and repeatedly said they will continue their efforts because Hamas’s aim is to remove the state of Israel from the map and Netanyahu and his government’s aim is to destroy Hamas and its infrastructure.

There are still over 230 people, men, women and children held hostage by Hamas. The suffering and deaths of innocent Palestinian and Israeli civilians is horrific. Over the past month I have listened to both Muslim and Jewish constituents as well as constituents of neither faith. Before the vote I met and listened to Palestinian families whose relatives have been killed in Gaza and Israeli families whose relatives have been killed and also those who have family-members still being held hostage after being captured by Hamas. I continue to listen to them all.

The only way to end the conflict is a political solution.

Stopping the bombing to allow humanitarian aid, the return of the hostages and negotiations is the first, immediately achievable step to an enduring cessation of violence and ultimately a political process to deliver a two state solution.

I understand the hopes of many of those calling for an immediate ceasefire.  I would urge my constituents to read the Labour amendment which I voted for, in this spirit.

Text of the Labour amendment :

Amendment (r)
Keir Starmer Angela Rayner David Lammy Yvette Cooper Lisa Nandy Sir Alan Campbell

At end add ‘and submit to Your Majesty that this House wishes to see an end to the violence in Israel and Palestine; unequivocally condemn the horrific terrorist attack and murder of civilians by Hamas, call for the immediate release of all hostages and reaffirm Israel’s right to defend its citizens from terrorism; believe all human life is equal and that there has been too much suffering, including far too many deaths of innocent civilians and children, over the past month in Gaza; reaffirm the UK’s commitment to the rules-based international order, international humanitarian law and the jurisdiction of the ICC to address the conduct of all parties in Gaza and Hamas’s attacks in Israel; call on Israel to protect hospitals and lift the siege conditions allowing food, water, electricity, medicine and fuel into Gaza; request the Government continue to work with the international community to prevent a wider escalation of the conflict in the region, guarantee that people in Gaza who are forced to flee during this conflict can return to their homes and seek an end to the expansion of illegal settlements and settler violence in the West Bank; and, while acknowledging the daily humanitarian pauses to allow in aid and the movement of civilians, believe they must be longer to deliver humanitarian assistance on a scale that begins to meet the desperate needs of the people of Gaza, which is a necessary step to an enduring cessation of fighting as soon as possible and a credible, diplomatic and political process to deliver the lasting peace of a two-state solution.’

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