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The ongoing situation in Israel and Gaza – an update

By 20 February 2024No Comments

Following the deeply concerning news that the Israeli Government intends to expand its military offensive into Gaza’s Southern City Rafah, I wanted to provide an update on the urgent actions I have been taking to raise the concerns of constituents on this and other matters regarding the ongoing situation in Israel and Gaza.

Any military offensive in Rafah risks catastrophic consequences for the civilian population and fatal disruption to the already tenuous humanitarian operation.

The 1.4 million Palestinians sheltering there simply have no alternative safe location to go, having evacuated to Rafah following Israeli military orders, from homes that have been largely destroyed.

The Government must use all the diplomatic tools available to prevent Israel launching this offensive, and ensure Israel takes urgent action to comply with the provisional measures set out in the ICJ’s ruling in January in full.

That is why I have written to the Minister of International Development to raise these urgent concerns and call on his department to take urgent action to achieve these goals.

You can read my letter in full here.

Despite the demands of the international community, calls for Israel to show restraint have fallen on deaf ears, while the hostages taken by Hamas remain captive. Despite the provisional measures ordered by the ICJ, the flow of aid into Gaza remains unacceptably restricted, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis.

I share the deep concerns of constituents regarding the continued humanitarian crisis in Gaza, as well as the risk that humanitarian aid will be further disrupted due to the suspension of funding UNRWA.

While the Government has provided assurances that the next UK allocation to UNRWA will resume as normal in the next financial year, I have continued to bring the Government’s attention to the urgent need to open more land borders and establish genuinely safe routes through to Northern Gaza.

I am acutely aware that the only way to resolve the humanitarian crisis is a permanent ceasefire, the return of all hostages and an immediate international effort to flood Gaza with aid.

Far too many civilians have already lost their lives. The fighting must stop now. That’s why I will be voting for Labour’s motion calling for an immediate ceasefire tomorrow, and I am calling on the Government to do the same.

The call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire aligns us with the position of key allies including Australia, Canada and New Zealand, and reflects the language used by the UN Secretary General and supported by more than 150 countries.

The government should join calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and demonstrate the UK’s shared commitment toward this aim.

I have therefore written to the Foreign Secretary urging him to use all diplomatic tools available to achieve this goal, through convening an urgent session of the UN Security Council to press this demand and to call for further rapid and humanitarian relief to be provided in Gaza.

You can view my letter in full here.

I can assure all constituents that I am continuing to monitor the situation and will raise matters in Parliament, playing my part in reaffirm the commitment of the international community to achieve a negotiated long-term peace settlement that includes the recognition of a Palestinian state through a two-state solution.

You can view my extensive written questions on this and other related matters when they are published here, and you can learn more about the actions I have taken over the last few months here.