Events in Gaza and West Bank – British MPs call for urgent Parliamentary debate and action by the International community


In Parliament today, MPs raised the rapidly deteriorating situation in the Middle East and the disproportionate attacks made by Israel on the Palestinians following the kidnapping of Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit on Sunday night. MPs, including former Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary, Sir Gerald Kaufman MP, called for an urgent statement and a full Parliamentary debate on the British response to the situation.
In responding to the calls from MPs, the Leader of the House of Commons and former Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw MP, promised to try to find time in the Parliamentary schedule for a debate on the Middle East before Parliament rises for the summer recess.

98 Members of Parliament have signed an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons calling for a return to negotiations and a settlement in line with the Road Map and United Nations Resolutions. It can be revealed today that it is expected that this figure will rise to more than 100 MPs over the next few days.

Richard Burden MP, Chair of the Britain-Palestine All Party Parliamentary Group today said:

“The response by Israel to the captured soldier is dangerous, disproportionate and will only serve to worsen the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the region, during a week when ground breaking agreements between Fateh and Hamas had been made and real progress towards peace looked possible. Opportunities like these should be being seized, not thrown away.

“It goes without saying that the Israeli Corporal should be released unharmed. All lives are equally precious, whether they be Israeli or Palestinian. Far too many have died already and there have been more deaths in recent days.

“The use of such extreme force and the destruction of power stations supplying schools and hospitals, as well as the main water pipe feeding refugee camps is appalling and violates international law. Today’s news of the abduction by Israel of over 20 democratically elected Parliamentarians only makes matters worse. These actions are likely to only lead to further bloodshed and misery on both sides.
“Israel says that it lacks a partner for peace. The actions it is taking in Gaza and the West Bank indicate that it does not seek such a partner and as the violence escalates, the likelihood of peace looks more remote, the certainty of greater humanitarian deprivation in the Occupied Territories increases.”

Mr Burden has also tabled Parliamentary Questions on the situation to the Foreign Secretary.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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