Residents have continued to contact me about the situation in Gaza, with many of the correspondence in support of an amendment to the King’s Speech motion calling for an immediate ceasefire. I used the opportunity in the debate on Wednesday to set out my position on this issue.
I am proud to represent a diverse constituency, where I have been able to engage with residents impacted by the events in both Israel and Gaza, each presenting incredibly distressing issues.
It cannot be said enough that there was no possible justification or legitimacy for the terrorist attacks perpetrated by Hamas on 7 October. The deliberate targeting of civilians, including children and babies, must be utterly condemned, and Israel has every right to defend itself against such barbaric actions.
Of course, any response from Israel must be done in accordance with International Humanitarian Law and with every precaution taken to minimise civilian casualties. I welcome the work that has been carried out to support the humanitarian efforts for the residents of Gaza, who we must not forget are themselves victims of Hamas in their own right.
As a country, we remain committed to the European convention on human rights (ECHR), as well as the wider international laws of war and humanitarian law, and I am encouraged by the Government’s unambiguous commitment to press all parties to ensure that those laws are respected in Israel and Gaza.
There is, I recognise, an extensive history of conflict in the region and a long-term cycle of violence that has costs many lives on both sides, especially since Hamas took over governance of Gaza in 2006. Their absolute refusal to countenance of a ceasefire, now or on any previous occasion, nullifies the humanitarian purpose of ceasefire calls. If we are to break the long-term cycle of violence, and work to achieve the objective of a two-state solution, we need to ensure that we do not support a ceasefire that would undermine that.