The horrors of recent months in Israel and Gaza have been intolerable.

Despite the demands the international community has made of Israel, tens of thousands of innocent civilians in Gaza have been killed and nearly two million people have been displaced, while blocks on supplies of essential aid are causing an unimaginable humanitarian catastrophe. Meanwhile, Hamas continues to hold hostages, hide among civilians and fire rockets into Israel.

This cannot go on. The next humanitarian truce is needed now, leading to the conditions for a sustainable ceasefire and long-term peace.

Labour is playing a leading role. Keir Starmer has been meeting regularly with leaders from Europe, America and the Middle East, including Israel and Palestine, while David Lammy and Lisa Nandy from our Shadow Foreign Office team have been in the region on almost a weekly basis. We are taking each opportunity to push urgently for a truce and for unfettered humanitarian access, gauge the risks of escalation, and build the relationships that will allow a future Labour government to contribute to a lasting peace.

In the space that a renewed truce brings, intense diplomacy must begin to set new terms under which fighting does not restart and the risk of escalation is reduced. Hamas must release all the remaining hostages, end all attacks on Israel and have no role in the future governance of Gaza. Israel must agree to end its bombardment, allow a humanitarian surge into Gaza, and end settler violence and displacement in the West Bank.

We must go further: a sustained ceasefire is necessary, but not sufficient, for long term peace. There have been no serious peace talks in more than a decade. I was hugely disappointed that the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu recently repeated his opposition to a state of Palestine. The Labour Party, and I personally, have long been committed to the idea of two states of Palestine and Israel living side by side in peace. It is clearer than ever that we need a new political process that has the capacity, conviction and commitment to turn this idea into reality. The next Labour government will be dedicated to working towards this goal.

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