Mary's response to constituents on the Israel Gaza conflict.
I understand that this issue weighs heavily on the hearts of my constituents as we all try to come to terms with the horrific events unfolding in Gaza.
Like you, I have been horrified by the violence in Israel and Palestine. Every life that has been lost is a tragedy. There is no justification for attacks on innocent civilian populations.
Please be assured that I have made my position clear and will do my utmost to ensure that your voice is heard, as well as the hundreds of other constituents who have contacted me to express their anguish.
Over the last few weeks, I have made representations to the Labour frontbench regarding the need for a humanitarian ceasefire and will continue to do so. I have also publicly declared my support for a ceasefire. Every effort must be made to restore peace to the region and ensure both Palestinians and Israeli authorities are encouraged and supported by the international community to re-engage with the peace process.
Innocent people in Gaza must not be collectively punished for the actions of Hamas, who must be condemned for their part in these atrocities. My thoughts remain with the victims of those horrific attacks as well as the Jewish community around the world who continue to grieve. All hostages must be returned safely.
The actions of Hamas, no matter how devastating, cannot justify the violation of international law. Indiscriminate bombing and collective punishment only leads to further devastation. We must seek peaceful solutions whenever and wherever possible to ensure more civilian lives aren’t lost.
Gaza is in the midst of a humanitarian emergency. It is estimated that almost a third of Gaza’s hospitals have already ceased to function; many are running out of water and fuel for generators while struggling to cope with the sheer number of casualties. The stories and images coming out of Gaza are absolutely heartbreaking, and I agree with you that we cannot simply sit back and watch.
Labour has called on the government to increase Britain’s humanitarian aid to Gaza by an extra £10 million, appoint a UK special coordinator for international aid to Gaza, the immediate deployment of British experts and medical support teams, as well as working with international partners to give UN agencies, such as UNRWA, the long-term resources they need, as well as insisting that fuel is allowed into Gaza.
The British Government must do everything in its power, and work proactively with international partners, to ensure food, water, medicine and fuel reaches those affected. Britain must uphold its commitment to the protection of human rights of all and call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.
An immediate humanitarian ceasefire, and the release of hostages, is the only way to prevent further loss of innocent civilian life and lay the foundations for progress towards a lasting peace.