The horrors of recent months in Israel and Gaza have been utterly intolerable for so many people.

Despite the demands that the international community has made of Israel, it continues to use devastating tactics and far too many civilians have been and are continuing to be killed. Nearly two million people have been displaced and unacceptable blocks on supplies of essential aid are causing a growing humanitarian catastrophe and there are now warnings of a deadly famine.

Meanwhile, Hamas terrorists cruelly continues to hold hostages, hide amongst civilians and fire rockets into Israel.

This dire situation must not continue. There is an urgent need for a humanitarian truce to protect civilians, provide urgent humanitarian relief and secure the release of hostages.

In the space a truce brings, intense diplomacy should begin to set new terms under which fighting does not restart. The international community can and must make political progress towards what we all want: an end to the conflict and a sustainable ceasefire.

Hamas must release all the remaining hostages, end all attacks on Israel and have no role in the future governance of Gaza.

Israel must agree to end its bombing campaign, allow unfettered humanitarian access into Gaza, and end settler violence and displacement in the West Bank. This will also reduce the dangerous risks of regional escalation.

A sustained ceasefire is necessary, but not sufficient, for long term peace. There have been no serious peace talks in more than a decade. That’s why there must be a new political process that has the capacity, conviction and commitment to turn the rhetoric of two states living side by side in peace into reality.

The next Labour government will be dedicated to working towards this goal.

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