Thank you for contacting me about the situation in Gaza.

I acknowledge the varying perspectives surrounding the sensitive subject.  Like everyone, I want to see peace in the Middle East and the progression of a two-state solution, including an advancement of the Abraham Accords.
A ceasefire that only results in one side being asked to stop is no ceasefire at all. Hamas have been clear that they will continue to launch attacks as often as possible. It is therefore impossible and unrealistic to expect a ceasefire from Israel when Hamas continues to launch rockets and hold hostages, many of whom are children. The agreement declared on November 21st between Israel and Hamas signifies a noteworthy advancement in the conflict. The joint decision to release hostages and implement a temporary ceasefire is a crucial step towards de-escalation. The collaborative agreement that has been reached shields Israel from persisting hostilities instigated by Hamas. 
I want to make clear that the UK remains committed to getting humanitarian aid to the people in gaza who desperately need it. We are getting on with aid delivery, funding multiple implementing partners including other UN agencies and international and UK NGOs. This support is helping people in gaza get food, water, shelter and medicines.

The commitment to trebling aid to gaza still stands and the UK is providing £60 million in humanitarian assistance to support partners including the British Red Cross, UNICEF, the UN World Food Programme and Egyptian Red Crescent Society to respond to critical food, fuel, water, health, shelter and security needs in gaza.

Indeed, the UK will continue to support the United Nations World Food Programme to deliver a new humanitarian land corridor from Jordan into gaza. 750 tonnes of life-saving food aid arrived in the first delivery and 315 tonnes in the second delivery.

The UK of course also continues to call for a humanitarian pause now to allow humanitarian actors and gazans to operate and move safely, and enable hostages to be released.
What needs to happen is for Hamas to lay down their weapons, return the hostages and surrender. Hamas are directly responsible for this conflict.

Lastly, it is important to recognise that while the UK plays a significant role in the world, there is nothing to say that a vote in Parliament on a conflict in which we are not involved would result in a change of course. I hope you understand my reasons and I should like to remind you that I have spent the past four years in Parliament promoting and working on international aid and ensuring that the UK helps those most in need.

I hope for further resolution to be achieved in this conflict. I will be following these fast-changing events very closely.

Opposition Day debate

You will by now know that Parliament’s recent debate on the situation between Israel and Palestine and any subsequent vote would not have been binding. Since the debate was in the name of the opposition it means that it carries no legal weight and is instead a view of a particular political party, in this instance the SNP.

However, had the debate led to a vote I would have supported the Government’s amendment for the reasons above. It is essential that access is granted to humanitarian aid and that those in need of medical assistance are provided with the necessary support.
Israel must not break any international conventions as they seek the return of the hostages, but they must also recognise that the current course of action will only inspire a new generation of Hamas terrorists whereby each bomb or bullet that is fired will feed the call to arms.
Finally, I would also like to point out that I have spent the last four years in Parliament working on international development matters and talking up the need for better humanitarian responses. As a result, I have spent considerable time working on preventing gender-based violence and addressing ways in which to prevent conflict. So, I feel strongly about seeing a peaceful outcome of this ghastly situation in the Middle East.