This week, and urgent question was but to the Minister of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office if he will make a statement on the situation in Israel and Palestine.
Responding on behalf of the Labour Party, David Lammy MP gave the following statement:
Mr Speaker, the Christmas period has not brought peace to the Middle East. There has been no let-up to the intolerable suffering in Gaza and no end to the cruelty for hostages. Millions are displaced, desperate and hungry. Israel continues to use devastating tactics that have seen far too many innocent civilians killed, with unacceptable blocks on essential aid, nowhere safe for civilians, a growing humanitarian catastrophe, and now warnings of a deadly famine. Meanwhile, Hamas terrorists continue to hold hostages, hide among civilians and fire rockets into Israel.
This dire situation must not continue. The need for a sustained ceasefire is clear. The fighting must stop urgently. We need a humanitarian truce now—not as a short pause but as the first step towards what will stop the killing of innocents, provide urgent humanitarian relief, ward off famine, free hostages and provide the space for a sustainable ceasefire so that fighting does not restart. I urge the Government to do everything they can to work for a sustained ceasefire, which will also ease the growing regional tensions across the divides and avoid the catastrophe of a wider war. Those risks are rising.
Will the Minister tell the House what steps the Government are taking to urge restraint in Lebanon and to see the full implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1701, which would allow civilians on both sides of the border to return home? In the Red sea, all the targeting of commercial ships and international trade routes that puts civilians and military personnel in danger must stop, so I welcome the approach of the US, the UK, Germany and others to send clear warnings to those responsible. Will the Government ensure that this House has the time and space to scrutinise decisions of any significance that may be required?