We are all deeply affected by the horrific images and reports from Israel and Gaza since the outbreak of the conflict.
I unequivocally condemn the terrorist attacks committed by Hamas against innocent Israeli civilians. There is no justification for the murder of innocent men, women and children. These are truly horrific acts of terrorism. My thoughts are with all the families who are grieving and with all those families whose loved ones have been taken hostage. The hostages must be returned immediately. These atrocities were committed by terrorists who do not seek peace and have set back the just cause of Palestinian freedom and statehood, which I have always supported.
I am horrified by the scenes coming out of Gaza, which is now without power, where innocent children, men and women are living in terror and fearing for their lives, and where the death toll rises every day, as war rages between Israel and Hamas.
It is clear that a humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Gaza. Israel has a duty, under international humanitarian law, to ensure access to food, water, medicines and electricity. It is important that there is a clear distinction between the innocent people of Gaza and the terrorists of Hamas. All responses must be within international law, which prohibits collective punishment.
1.1 million Palestinians in Gaza have been told to flee. This highlights the scale of the unfolding humanitarian disaster and displacement taking place which risks turning into a humanitarian catastrophe.
I know this is hitting closer to home with many British nationals, whose families and friends are caught up in the conflict both in Israel and Gaza. My thoughts are with them.
I am also deeply concerned by reports of rising incidents of antisemitism and Islamophobia in the UK during the last week. We must not allow hatred to divide us. I am appealing to everyone in our local community to stand together in the pursuit of peace. We must look out for each other and extend an arm of friendship to neighbours and across all faiths.
We must all work towards the ultimate goal of long-lasting peace with a sovereign Palestine alongside a safe and secure Israel.