Rushanara Ali MP urges Government to apply pressure on ‘unacceptable’ Israeli action in Gaza

At a House of Commons statement on Gaza, Rushanara Ali MP spoke out against the escalation of violence between Israel and Palestine, bringing attention to the urgent humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

In questioning the Foreign Secretary on the conflict in Gaza which has already cost some 192 lives and hundreds of injuries, Rushanara Ali MP said:

“In 2010, our Prime Minister described Gaza as being like an “open-air prison”, with its people "living under constant attacks and pressure". The latest escalation of the violence and killing has made matters unbearable. When will our Government, working with the international community, actually apply pressure on the Israeli Government to adhere to international law and humanitarian requirements, because this is just completely unacceptable?”

The Foreign Secretary, the Rt. Hon. William Hague MP, replied by saying:

“As we have all lamented over the last half hour, the situation is unacceptable. Yet it is important to bear in mind the wider responsibility for that situation. It is very important for us all to give the message to Israel about humanitarian law, but it is also important for those launching rockets from Gaza to stop such unacceptable attacks on Israel. That is very important, too. It is an indispensable component of trying to deal with this, so our effort must be directed at the three objectives I set out in my statement: to bring about an urgent and agreed ceasefire; to provide humanitarian relief, and to support a revival of the peace process.”

Rushanara Ali MP also added:

“I am gravely concerned by the recent escalation of violence and tension that has broken out. I am horrified by the news that some 192 Palestinians including children have been killed since Israel launched Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. The UN estimates that 80% of those killed are civilians, with a further 17,000 Palestinians seeking UN refuge. My thoughts and prayers are with all those who have lost their loved ones in the latest conflict.”

“The murders of the Israeli and Palestinian teenagers were horrifying crimes. It is crucial that those responsible are now brought to justice. This escalation of retaliatory attacks have cost lives and hundreds have been injured. The international community must do all it can to apply pressure on both sides to bring an end to the cycle of violence and prevent a repeat of Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defence and Operation Cast Lead which resulted in thousands of Palestinian civilian deaths.”

“Both Palestinians and Israelis deserve to live in peace, security and without fear of attack. This most recent outbreak of bloodshed underlines the desperate need for negotiation between the two sides and the importance of working towards viable and just two state solution in the Middle East.”

Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, Rt. Hon Douglas Alexander MP, said:

"We know from bitter experience that a spiral of violence that reinforces the insecurity of the Israelis and the humiliation of the Palestinians leads only to further suffering. For Israel, permanent occupation, blockade and repeated military action in occupied land will make peace—and, ultimately, security—harder, not easier, to achieve. Alas, it is not a strategy for peace; it is a recipe for continued conflict.”

He added, "In the past few days, Israel’s overwhelming military might has been obvious. Hamas, weakened today by Sisi’s rise in Egypt and differences with Iran over Syria, can avert the risk of an imminent ground invasion by stopping the rocket attacks, but Israel needs a strategy for building peace, not just tactics for winning the next round of war. This is a time and this is a crisis that demands not revenge, but statesmanship motivated by justice. Only politics, and a negotiated solution, offers a way forward to peace.”

Reports from the United Nations have estimated that some 192 Palestinians have been killed – with hundreds of others injured – since the Israeli Government launched Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. Israel reported its first civilian death on Tuesday. The recent escalation of violence began over a week ago and was triggered by the kidnap and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank, and the murder of a Palestinian teenager in East Jerusalem.