The international community must work to urgently de-escalate this conflict and support an immediate internationally supported humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.
My thoughts are with all those who are suffering and the many people who have lost loved ones. We are all deeply affected by the horrific images on our screens of innocent civilians being killed.
I unequivocally condemn the terrorist attacks committed by Hamas against innocent Israeli civilians on 7 October. There is no justification for the murder of innocent men, women and children which has claimed the lives of 1400 civilians. All hostages must be released immediately and without conditions.
Israel has the right to self-defence. However, the air strikes on Gaza have already claimed the lives of over 7000 innocent civilians, the majority of whom are women and children. According to Save the Children, a child is dying every 15 minutes. There is no justification for the withholding of essential supplies; water, electricity, medicine and food from the people of Gaza. As highlighted by the United Nation Secretary General, “it is a clear violation of international humanitarian law that we are witnessing in Gaza.”
All responses must be within international law, which prohibits collective punishment. I condemn the violations of international humanitarian law. The continuing bombing by the Israeli government is causing death and destruction, and displacement on an unprecedented scale. We are witnessing an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe across Gaza. We need an immediate humanitarian pause, a cessation of hostilities on all sides and humanitarian aid and fuel to be allowed through to Gaza, and hostages to be released.
There is a grave danger of the war in Gaza spreading throughout the region. The international community must work together to urgently de-escalate this conflict and support an immediate internationally supported humanitarian ceasefire. The UK government, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and a G7 member, should do more to de-escalate the conflict and help reinvigorate the peace process.
In our own communities, we must strive for stability and safety for all. I am concerned about the rise in hate crimes driven by antisemitism and islamophobia, and the escalation in language which seeks to divide and spread rancour. 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. In our borough, we must continue to look out for each other and extend an arm of friendship to neighbours and across all faiths.
Longer term, I am a life-long, passionate advocate of a free, independent, and pluralist Palestinian state, alongside a secure Israel. I believe the international community, including the states in the region, must work to reinvigorate the peace process. We must all work towards the ultimate goal of long-lasting peace with a sovereign Palestine alongside a safe and secure Israel.