Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament

Over the last few days we have once again witnessed the capability of people to commit atrocious acts against one another. With casualty numbers rising in their thousands, and hostage numbers rising too, we have seen Israeli and Palestinian families literally blown apart by the evils of this war. Refugee numbers are also rising sharply with 100,000’s of Palestinians now displaced from Gaza. Right now there is a very concerning humanitarian situation which is adding to the war, most notably in Gaza, where illegal blockades are preventing access to clean water, food, energy. medical and other aid. The UN has an immediate responsibility to ensure that supplies can enter the region and all the necessary support required.

As a global community we need to ensure that we work across walls and divides to keep families and communities safe. I call on the UK Government to demand an immediate ceasefire, that all hostages are released, as escalation is only going to worsen this already complex situation.

I further call on the UK Government to apportion aid to reach all those who need the support of international partners. The people of Israel and Palestine have not wanted war, and we know that people are very frightened at this time, not least children who are having to live in the midst of rockets, missiles and bullets.

Third, I call on the UK Government to ensure that it works to create safe routes for people at risk to exit the region or country, and where necessary to play its part with international partners to host families during this conflict, just as we have during the Ukrainian invasion. We are aware that UK citizens, friends and family are in the midst of this conflict and further call on the UK Government to ensure consular support is available to all who remain in Israel or Palestine. Most people will stay in the region, and for those that do, we need to ensure that all who are displaced have safe, emergency accommodation in the immediate future.

We have known that the inequity of occupation and suppression has long had a devastating impact on the country. It is complex, wrought in centuries of conflicts and has resulted in significant inequity of rights and freedoms. While all acts of terrorism must be denounced and dealt with, including the actions of Hamas, it is time that all measures are taken to stabilise the country and take a human rights approach to peace.

I further condemn any persecution or discrimination of Israeli or Palestinian residents or communities in the UK. In this most challenging of times, it is right that we provide whatever support we can as they suffer the effects of this war.

At this most distressing time, all Israeli and Palestinian citizens will be in my petitions in Parliament and prayers for peace. Every life is the most precious of gifts and all must be protected.

Rachael Maskell MPYork Central

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