Members of the Government do not, by convention, sign any Early Day Motions as doing so is likely to breach the Ministerial Code’s rules on collective responsibility. However, I am deeply concerned by the deaths and injuries in Gaza - the violence is shocking and tragic. Israel has a legitimate right to defend itself, however the number of those killed and injured demonstrates that we desperately need Israel to show greater restraint. I believe there is an urgent need to establish the facts, which is why I would support any independent and transparent investigation into violence at the Israel/Gaza border. It is highly regrettable the Commission of Inquiry Report does not look comprehensively at the actions of non-state actors such as Hamas.
I believe the Palestinian right to protest is important, however these protests must remain peaceful. I am extremely concerned that extremist elements may have used the protests to further their own violent and deplorable aims against the State of Israel. Above all, it is important that this violence is not repeated and that all those involved commit to peaceful protest, restraint and observe international law.
There is a pressing need for all parties to reach a wider agreement that addresses the underlying causes of conflict in Gaza and to take the necessary steps to ensure Gaza’s reconstruction and economic recovery. Any agreement should ensure that Hamas and other militant groups permanently end rocket and other attacks against Israel, that the Palestinian Authority resumes control of Gaza and restores effective governance, and that Israel lifts its restrictions to ease the suffering of ordinary Palestinians.
I firmly believe that the international community must redouble its efforts to support a comprehensive peace agreement that delivers a safe and secure Israel alongside an independent Palestine. A two-state solution brought about through agreement is the most effective way for Palestinian aspirations of statehood to be met.