I voted in the House of Commons on 15th November on amendments to the King’s Speech that addressed the concerning situation in Israel and Gaza. You can read the full text of Labour’s amendment below.
The recent events and conflict in Israel and Palestine are horrifying and have a backdrop going back centuries. Hamas’ barbaric terrorist attack on 7th October killed the highest number of Jews in a single day since the Holocaust. Over 200 Israelis are still being held hostage somewhere by Hamas. More than ten thousand people in Gaza have been killed, including thousands of children. Gaza’s people are in the midst of a humanitarian catastrophe on an unimaginable scale.
All of this death and destruction is devastating. That is why:
I voted for an end to the violence in Israel and Palestine, and for humanitarian pauses as a necessary step towards an enduring cessation of fighting as soon as possible.
I share the deep desire for an end to the violence and suffering, which cannot come too soon, and understand and respect the heartfelt calls for a ceasefire.
I believe that as a prospective party of government, Labour’s responsibility is to find and chart a viable diplomatic path all the way to a lasting peace. A ceasefire is on that path but is not yet possible. This is why we pushed successfully for humanitarian pauses in hostilities – not as a goal, but as an achievable first step to provide urgently needed help. Pauses of a few hours are clearly nothing like enough. I am continuing to push for a full and immediate pause in fighting across the whole of Gaza to get more food, fuel, water and medical supplies in.
I voted for humanitarian assistance on a scale that begins to meet the desperate needs of the people of Gaza and for an end to siege conditions.
The millions of people suffering in Gaza desperately need help now. The aid that is arriving is completely insufficient. The lack of fuel means hospitals are struggling to operate and water and sewage systems are breaking down. Delivery of food, fuel, water, electricity, and medical supplies must be ramped up and must get to where they are most needed. Labour’s Shadow Foreign and International Development Secretaries were in the region recently to meet with the Government of Egypt and with Non-Governmental Organisations to help get aid across the Rafah crossing. I have joined calls for a coordinated Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) fund appeal with matched government funding to provide essential humanitarian aid in Gaza, and for a longer-term fund for its reconstruction.
I voted to reaffirm the UK’s commitment to the rules-based international order and international humanitarian law.
What is happening is causing unacceptable suffering on a massive scale. International law under the fourth Geneva Convention gives us a clear standard to measure by, as well as a system for holding those responsible to account. Siege conditions must be lifted to allow in food, water, electricity, medicine and fuel to Gaza. Hamas must release the people it is still holding hostage and stop using civilians as human shields. Israel’s leaders must take urgent, concrete steps to protect civilians. Hospitals, schools, and refugee camps must be protected and cannot be targets. Israeli authorities must take action against violence and extremism by settlers in the West Bank. And people in Gaza who are forced to flee during this conflict must be allowed to return to their homes.
Labour has been clear from the start that international law must be upheld. Allegations of breaches must be treated with utmost seriousness. Labour supports the independence of the International Criminal Court and recognises its jurisdiction to address the conduct of all parties in Gaza and the West Bank.
I voted for a credible, diplomatic and political process to deliver the lasting peace and security of a two-state solution.
The reality is that neither the long-term security of Israel nor long-term justice for Palestine can be delivered by yet more violence. A political agreement – however unlikely that seems today – is the only way to resolve this conflict and bring peace to the region. My Labour colleagues and I are deeply committed to this. This will require deep understanding of the region and its history and patient and careful diplomacy.
Text of Labour’s amendment:
At end add ‘and submit to Your Majesty that this House wishes to see an end to the violence in Israel and Palestine;
unequivocally condemn the horrific terrorist attack and murder of civilians by Hamas, call for the immediate release of all hostages and reaffirm Israel’s right to defend its citizens from terrorism;
believe all human life is equal and that there has been too much suffering, including far too many deaths of innocent civilians and children, over the past month in Gaza;
reaffirm the UK’s commitment to the rules-based international order, international humanitarian law and the jurisdiction of the ICC to address the conduct of all parties in Gaza and Hamas’s attacks in Israel;
call on Israel to protect hospitals and lift the siege conditions allowing food, water, electricity, medicine and fuel into Gaza;
request the Government continue to work with the international community to prevent a wider escalation of the conflict in the region, guarantee that people in Gaza who are forced to flee during this conflict can return to their homes and seek an end to the expansion of illegal settlements and settler violence in the West Bank;
and, while acknowledging the daily humanitarian pauses to allow in aid and the movement of civilians, believe they must be longer to deliver humanitarian assistance on a scale that begins to meet the desperate needs of the people of Gaza, which is a necessary step to an enduring cessation of fighting as soon as possible and a credible, diplomatic and political process to deliver the lasting peace of a two-state solution.’