The debate on the Ukraine, Middle East, North Africa and Security – Philip Hammond: [extracts] “In the wider middle east, the recent eruption of violence in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, and the tragic loss of many hundreds of civilian lives, has underlined the need for a lasting settlement to that decades-long source of conflict and human suffering.”  ………… “Finally, I want to turn to the perennial problem of Israel, Gaza and the middle east peace process. Ending the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians and seeing a responsible, viable and independent Palestinian state that respects the rights and security concerns of Israel taking its place among the family of nations would be a major step towards restoring stability throughout the region. Throughout the summer, in my meetings and phone calls with Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Abbas, President al-Sisi and others, I have supported the Egyptian-led talks in Cairo as being the best way to bring a rapid end to the violence, and we warmly welcome the agreement that was reached in Cairo on 26 August, which has, at last, led to a ceasefire that has held. It is now vital that negotiations resume and rapidly agree some practical, deliverable and confidence-building first steps to improve the situation for ordinary Palestinians in Gaza at the same time as reassuring Israel that there will be no further rocket fire against Israeli civilians and no rebuilding of military infrastructure inside Gaza.” – Martin Horwood: “Does the Foreign Secretary agree that President Abbas now deserves the opportunity to demonstrate to the Palestinian people that the peaceful path towards statehood, not just the rockets of Hamas, can bring dividends? He needs the opportunity, through diplomatic support, to make the same kind of progress that, unfortunately, Hamas can now demonstrate that it has made in having the blockade on Gaza modified.” – PH: “The steps we need to take must include measures that will pave the way for the Palestinian Authority to resume control of Gaza and restore effective and accountable governance, which will allow the progressive easing of Israeli security restrictions on Gaza and, in turn, allow the Gazan economy to grow. Both the Prime Minister and I have expressed our grave concern at the level of civilian casualties and the scale of human suffering in Gaza during the recent violence, but we have also been clear that the indiscriminate firing of thousands of rockets from Gaza into civilian areas of Israel by Hamas was a clear breach of international humanitarian law, and that by launching attacks from densely populated civilian areas—in some cases, from sensitive buildings, such as mosques and schools—Hamas bears a direct responsibility for the appalling loss of civilian lives. We have been equally clear that Israel has a right to defend itself against attack, but that in doing so it, too, must act in accordance with international law with regard to proportionality and the avoidance of unnecessary civilian casualties.” – Jeremy Corbyn: “In the light of what the Foreign Secretary has just said, will he please explain why the British Government abstained at the United Nations Human Rights Council on its official call for an investigation into war crimes that have occurred there? Could he not express some regret about Britain’s close military relationship with Israel, which has indeed helped it to kill more than 2,000 people in Gaza during the recent siege?” – PH: “The hon. Gentleman’s last allegation is regrettable and completely inaccurate. We have looked very carefully at the nature of the matériel and equipment supplied to the Israelis, and we are confident that very little of what we supplied could in any way have been used in equipment deployed during this operation in Gaza…….. We chose to abstain on the resolution, along with all our European Union partners, because it was not worded in an even-handed and open way. It was not aimed at getting to the truth of what happened in Gaza, and it was not targeted at possible wrongdoing by both sides. It was heavily lopsided, and made a political point, rather than seeking to get to the bottom of what actually took place. I would, however, say to him that we are clear that, in due course, there must be a proper inquiry into what went on….. In due course, a resolution of the immediately pressing issues in Gaza and a resumption of Palestinian Authority control in the strip must be steps towards the wider middle east peace process leading to a two-state solution. However, for the negotiations to have the best possible chance of success, both sides need to resist domestic pressures to take actions that could jeopardise the prospects of long-term peace. That is why we deplore the Israeli Government’s provocative decision to expropriate 988 acres of land near Bethlehem. We have unequivocally condemned that move, and we will continue to press the Government of Israel to reverse that decision. The UK’s position on settlements is clear: they are illegal under international law; they present an obstacle to peace; and they take us further away from a viable two-state solution.” – Caroline Lucas:  “I am very pleased to hear the Foreign Secretary condemn the Israeli action, but does he still not see that from the outside it looks as if the British Government are guilty of double standards? When Israel makes a land grab of this type, yes we have some harsh words, but nothing else follows; if Putin does something in Ukraine, things follow much more dramatically. I do not want to see such things, but I do want to see an end to double standards.” – PH: “I think that the hon. Lady is being a little harsh. The reality is that in the Israel-Palestine conflict, we have a deeply entrenched and largely intractable challenge, which has defeated many people who have tried to solve it over many years. We have to make progress on this issue, but we are not going to make it by wagging fingers; we have to make it by engagement.” [extract] – Seema Malhotra: “Will the Foreign Secretary be slightly clearer about what he sees as the consequences for Israel of not stopping the progress of settlements?” – PH: “I have been very forward-leaning in saying to my Israeli interlocutors—not only about the policy of settlements, but about the scale of the civilian casualties that occurred in Gaza—that whatever the rights and wrongs and whatever the position in international law when the analysis is done, Israel runs a serious risk of losing the sympathy for it that existed when it came under attack by Hamas rockets earlier this summer. Israel needs to think about its long-term best interests, not just about the short-term reactions that it can deliver. I started this section of my speech by saying that if we are to make progress, both sides need to resist the temptation to react to short-term provocations and to play to domestic audiences. Both sides need to think about the long-term best interests of both the Israeli people and the Palestinian people.” ……… “In supporting the resolution of the conflict between Israel and Hamas and ultimately the advance of the middle east peace process, we must be clear with both sides that only a negotiated political settlement can deliver the security guarantees that Israel needs and the viable state that the Palestinian people deserve.” [extracts] – Douglas Alexander: [extracts] “The past seven weeks in Gaza and Israel have been the deadliest for years in an area already scarred by the tragic pattern of conflict. Today, the hopes of millions hinge on the willingness of all sides to uphold the latest, and hopefully lasting, Egyptian-brokered ceasefire. The Opposition opposed the Israel incursion into Gaza. When it began, we warned from the Dispatch Box that further escalation of the conflict would be a disaster for the people of both Gaza and Israel and a strategic error for Israel. We have all seen this deadly pattern of violence too many times before. Five years ago, after an earlier conflict in Gaza, I walked amidst the rubble of what had been a Palestinian family’s home. As a father myself, I will never forget the father showing me tearfully where his children had been killed. The death toll caused by three weeks of intense and bloody fighting shocked and outraged many around the world. Such fighting goes on to define a generation, I fear; it makes enemies out of neighbours. Since the conflict began in July, more than 2,200 Palestinians have lost their lives, the vast majority of them innocent civilians. Of course the conflict must not be reduced simply to a ledger of casualties, but the scale of suffering in Gaza today must be fully and frankly acknowledged, because the life of a Palestinian child is worth no less than the life of an Israeli child. Today, out of the rubble of Gaza, the death and destruction that followed the Israeli military incursion will be there for the world to see. Many people have been forced from their homes and more than 350,000 are thought to be sheltering in emergency accommodation. Many now have no home to return to, so the priority must be getting vital humanitarian resources into Gaza to help those in desperate need. I welcome the Government’s assurances on the UK’s bilateral support, and it is vital that the planned Palestinian donor conference, now scheduled for 12 October, does not face further delays. Palestinian poverty cannot continue to be Israel’s de facto strategy for security. An end to the fighting, although of course welcome, must not be an excuse for a return to the status quo of terror, occupation and blockade. The whole House will feel real regret that instead of seizing the initiative to move forward, Israel has given the international community renewed cause for concern. The recent Israeli annexation of land in the west bank must be forthrightly condemned. It is a serious setback at a perilous time, and the Israeli Government must reverse that decision. Israel’s own Finance Minister has said that the decision harms Israel, and he is right. In Israel, the death of 64 soldiers and three civilians has scarred a society already traumatised by the cost of conflict. No one should question Israel’s right to defend itself, but we all have a duty to raise questions about the wisdom, morality and legality of the force that is used. There can be no military solution to the conflict, either now or in the future. Only a wider political agreement to end the violence will provide the longer-term security that civilians on all sides crave. Of course, we unequivocally condemn the rocket attacks on civilian populations in Israel. There can be no justification for the conduct of Hamas and other organisations operating out of Gaza, but ultimately only a political agreement to end the violence will provide that longer-term security. Today, the risk is a return to a period of no peace and no process. After the fighting has stopped, we all hope that talks will begin, but peace will come only when all sides accept that talks are not simply the things that happen in between renewed bouts of the conflict. Talks are about bringing a meaningful end to the cycle of violence, which is why I hope the British Government will continue their efforts to support meaningful attempts to secure a negotiated solution.” – Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: “I wholly support the right hon. Gentleman’s remarks that we need a political settlement of the Gaza-Israeli dispute. Does he agree that the Israelis risk losing international sympathy if they carry on building settlements and seizing land, which is contrary to international law and unacceptable?” DA: “One of the profound challenges facing the state of Israel is to recognise that in responding to its immediate security challenges in the region, it risks losing standing and authority in the international community. A younger generation of citizens in the United Kingdom have no memory of the experience of the Israeli state after 1948, when it was periodically threatened by invasion from powerful neighbours. Instead, they have seen in recent conflicts the overwhelming use of military force by the Israel defence forces, which shapes and affects their view of the conflict. It is important for the Israeli Government to recognise that statehood for the Palestinians is not a gift to be given, but a right to be recognised. It is not simply that Israeli settlements on occupied territory lands are illegal under international law, it is that it is simply wrong to build on other people’s lands. That is why the most recent initiative is so wholly unacceptable, both because of the reality that Israel is building once more on other people’s land, with that land being occupied for military purposes, and because of the symbol that it sends about the seriousness of the Israeli Government to try to make meaningful progress on a negotiated solution. We must break the pattern of periodic conflict, permanent blockade, and episodic attempts at talks. In that sense, of course there is a heavy burden of responsibility on the Palestinians, but there is also a very heavy burden of responsibility on the Israeli Government. My genuine fear is that this latest step in settlement building will be interpreted as being far from positive as to the sincerity of the Israeli Government’s efforts in that regard.” – Mark Durkan: “My right hon. Friend heard the Foreign Secretary say that simply wagging fingers would not contribute to meaningful peace in the middle east. Will he say what UK stance, either bilaterally or with our partners, could make any higher diplomatic or political case than wagging our finger?” – DA:  “My hon. Friend raises an important point. How does one effectively seek to influence the conduct of the Israeli Government? One truth that we in this House must confront is that Prime Minister Netanyahu—many of us have had concerns about specific actions he has taken—is probably more popular 10 years after taking office than when he first assumed it. The test for me is not, “Can we make headlines?”, but “Can we make a difference?”, and the test of that is whether actions taken in the United Kingdom, or at European level, strengthen the forces of progress in Israeli society, or strengthen the forces of reaction. I fully understand the depth of feeling among many Opposition Members about the urgency of finding meaningful ways to influence Israel, and for it to adopt an approach that many of us believe better suited to its long-term interests. But in reality, if we were to take actions that strengthened a narrative in Israeli society that somehow the whole world is against them, that the only people they can trust to defend them are the IDF, and that they can have no security reliant on international agreements but must instead look only to themselves, I fear that far from that leading to the progress we all sincerely want, we would get a further reinforcement of the pattern of destruction and blockade that we have seen over recent years. I am conscious of the anger, urgency and frustration that so many people on both sides of this House feel about making progress, but our challenge is about what can make a difference given the discourse in Israeli society, the balance of forces in the Knesset, and the views previously taken by the Israeli Government.” – Jeremy Corbyn: “During the crisis of the last six weeks or so, American arms have continued to flow to Israel, the EU-Israel trade agreement continued unabated, and Britain, while not exporting a vast amount of equipment to Israel, has continued a military relationship with it. Does my right hon. Friend think that at the very least we should be supporting an investigation into war crimes and suspending military co-operation with Israel while that is going on?” – DA:  “We took a different position to the Government on the export of arms—once they managed to sort out what their position was—by saying that no arms should be exported during this conflict, and certainly that no arms should be exported where there were reasonable concerns that the consolidated criteria were not being adhered to by the end user, which in this case was the state of Israel. Of course any allegations of war crimes that are brought to the attention of the United Nations, and others, should be investigated. On my hon. Friend’s substantive point, the nature of the military relationship between the United Kingdom and Israel is profoundly different to the relationship between the United States and Israel. It is important to nail the misperception that somehow the sustained military aid provided by the United States Government to the state of Israel, based on their long-standing strategic alliance, is comparable in a meaningful way to the export of arms to Israel under tightly drawn consolidated criteria and on a commercial basis by arms manufacturers in the United Kingdom. When I was Secretary of State for International Development under the previous Administration, I oversaw the largest ever package of aid to the Palestinian Authority. We do not provide any aid to the Israelis as they are a much wealthier nation. The reasons we sent that aid to the Palestinian Authority were twofold. First, of course, we had an obligation on poverty reduction to make sure that we were ensuring a higher standard of living for impoverished people, not just on the west bank but in Gaza. Critically, we also supported those aid payments because we wanted a credible negotiating partner for the state of Israel. If we are serious about matching our words about a two-state solution with deeds, we must continue to make what I recognise are often difficult decisions and choices to continue to support the legitimate voice of the Palestinian peoples, the Palestinian Authority. If we are to be questioned about our aid relationship with the region, the facts are that we do not provide aid to Israel, but we do provide hundreds of millions of pounds to the Palestinians—and rightly so—both in the service of poverty reduction and to ensure a capacity for meaningful negotiations in the future.” – John Howell: “The right hon. Gentleman’s analysis of the situation will come across as extremely one-sided, and that he is being far too dismissive of the role of Hamas in this situation.” – DA: “I am not entirely clear of the basis on which the hon. Gentleman makes his point, but let me reiterate for the record, and so that he can rest assured, that I am unyielding in my condemnation of Hamas, both for the indiscriminate killing of Israeli civilians and for the destructive role it has played when we have tried to secure the two-[state] solution we want. Please do not be in any doubt as to where I stand on wanting a unification of the Palestinian community so that we can have that meaningful two-state solution, but I am also unequivocal in my condemnation of the use of rockets as a weapon of war by Hamas and other terrorist organisations operating out of Gaza. There should be no uncertainty or ambiguity about my position.” – Richard Burden: “Will my right hon. Friend say a couple of words about a matter on which I had hoped the Foreign Secretary would have accepted a question from me, particularly as I wrote to him about it only last week? It concerns the terms of the ceasefire agreement in Gaza. We all accept that a long-term solution requires a two-state solution, justice for the Palestinians, security for Israel and so on, but the ceasefire agreement is specific in requiring actions now. One of those actions is the cessation of hostilities, the other is at least an easing of the blockade. Last week the new DFID Minister—” – Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle: “Order. I think the shadow Foreign Secretary has picked up the point. If necessary the hon. Gentleman will have to make another intervention.” – DA: “I hope I have got the gist of my hon. Friend’s point about the lifting of the blockade. Of course we want that, but in reality it will happen only with the agreement of the Israelis, who are ensuring that the blockade is in place at the moment. That therefore requires it to be part of a process, leading to the kind of meaningful negotiations of which I have spoken. After a previous conflict, one reason why I travelled to Gaza and Israel was to urge the lifting of the blockade, which at the time was affecting humanitarian supplies—not just access for humanitarian workers, but the most basic essentials of life in Gaza. Similarly, we need a dynamic process whereby we can get the blockade lifted and return to a greater degree of normality in Gaza, while at the same time have the kind of meaning negotiations of which I have been speaking.” [extract]   – Jack Straw: [extract] “Let me now turn to Israel and Palestine. Like everybody else in this House, I have no brief whatever for Hamas. It was I who introduced the Terrorism Act 2000 and then, as soon as it was on the statute book, ensured that Hamas, along with 20 other terrorist organisations, was proscribed as a terrorist organisation. I was right to do that then and it is right for it to stay as a terrorist outfit. Hamas breached every rule in the book by launching rockets against the civilian population in Israel, but, as the Foreign Secretary said, that cannot conceivably justify the wholly disproportionate response of the Israelis in allowing 2,000 mainly innocent men, women and children to be killed in the way that they did. Whatever they say, they did not have a care for the civilian population. Now, as we have heard, the Israelis have decided to annex over 1,000 acres of Palestinian land near Bethlehem. I congratulate the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary on their strong words—this was “utterly deplorable”, according to the Prime Minister, and illegal under international law—but what I ask is, what are we going to do about it? I say, with respect, that the Israelis do not care what is said by any western European Government. I used to think something different, but it is not the case; provided that this more right-wing and more extreme Israeli Government have the United States Congress in their pocket, which they do, they do not care about sentiment here. They would care if we were to do what we should be doing, which is to ensure that goods produced in the occupied territories with the label of Israel are treated like any other counterfeit goods and subject to strict rules and additional tariffs. I am not in favour for a moment of generalised boycotts or sanctions against Israel, but I am in favour of an EU démarche on Israel to get it to pull back—and if it does not do that, we should withdraw our ambassadors and temporarily downgrade our diplomatic arrangements with the country. I am also strongly in favour of recognising Palestine as a state with a formal status in the United Nations. All the things that Israel said would happen if we were to do this have happened anyway—and with a vengeance.” – Peter Hain: [extract] “The fact that Iran has given its de facto blessing to US air strikes is of seismic importance. It opens up an opportunity for future engagement and collaboration which could be transformative for the whole region, including, possibly, Israel-Palestine.” – Martin Horwood: [extract] “We need a strategy, and it should be to stop looking for perfection and start to identify those moderate Arab democrats across the region who share a basic commitment to pluralism, democracy and peaceful change……. It also includes democratic leaders such as Mahmoud Abbas in Palestine. The inconsistency of British policy there is also very obvious, and Palestinian statehood and a re-examination of the association agreement with Israel have to be part of delivering dividends for a progressive democratic Arab leader in that part of the region, too.” – Elfyn Llwyd: Says he agrees with Jack Straw that “we need to toughen up our stance on Israel.” – Andrew Turner: [extract] “ In the Holy Land, there is an agreement of sorts between Israel and Palestine. Gaza is not a state, but neither is it allowed by Israel to be part of Palestine. It is ruled by a terrorist organisation, Hamas, with the consequences that we see each day—bombing, rockets and bloodshed. Although there are issues that we, the Egyptians and the Israelis agree on, the Palestinian militants have crackpot ideas, and hundreds of rockets are fired from Gaza into Israel. However, very few people are killed by those rockets, whereas approximately 2,000 innocent civilians in Gaza have been killed by Israeli offensives. What is needed, as well as a lasting ceasefire, is a workable plan for the crossings into Israel and Egypt from Gaza by both land and sea. Gaza has a smaller land mass than the Isle of Wight but more than 1.8 million residents. Most of them are out of work because businesses can get few of their products out in order to sell them and local people do not have the money to buy things. I, like so many people, am concerned that we must find a more civilised way for innocent people to live, even if a terrorist gang is in charge. It is totally unacceptable that larger and larger developments by the Israelis are forcing many thousands of Palestinians from their homes.” [ed: turning to Syria, he says: “There was a movement in favour of democracy, but that has been overtaken by extremists, including Hamas.”] – Paul Flynn: [extract] “I wrote to Tony Blair in 2003—the letter was on my blog and has been there ever since—saying, “If we go to war in Iraq without attempting to solve the Israel-Palestine problem, we will give a sense of injustice to Muslim communities from my local mosque to the far corners of the world.”” – Jeremy Corbyn: [extract] “This morning a number of us went to Room 14 to hear a statement from Dr Mustafa Barghouti of the Palestine National Initiative. He showed us a short film that was appalling, shocking and horrible. All I was seeing were pictures of buildings in Gaza that I have visited and known. They are all ruined, and there are 2,000 people dead and many families completely bereft of everything. The bitterness from that bombing by Israel continues and will continue for a very long time. Surely there should have been a response by the British Government on this. It is not good enough just to talk about Israel’s right to exist and its right to self-defence. There was a total disproportionality about the whole conflict. More than 2,000 Palestinians are dead; sadly, 100 Israelis are dead. I wish no one had died from that conflict, but unless we address the rights of and justice for the Palestinian people—their right to nationhood, their right to recognition, their right to travel, their right to trade; all those things—and instead keep them in prison in Gaza, this will all break out again in the not-too-distant future and we will have a renewal of all the horrible bloodletting that has happened over the past month. There was a massive lobby of Parliament yesterday by supporters of Palestine. On 9 August, 150,000 people came on a demonstration in London to show their solidarity with people under bombardment. It is up to us, as one of the authors of the Sykes-Picot agreement, which is the antecedent of many of these problems, to be prepared politically to do something about the problem, at the very least by suspending all military arrangements with Israel. Although I recognise that that will not solve the problem, it would at least send a significant political message.” – Charles Walker: [extract] “It is important to get my concerns on the record, and I will be brief. I am greatly concerned about the impact that events in the middle east are having on our country, and about how these events are being perverted to give licence to hate. As a tolerant society, we cannot tolerate British people hating British people on the basis of the faith they are born into or choose to follow. I am deeply disturbed by the personal letters I have received from a number of my Jewish constituents—I have only 250 of them—expressing their distress at what the future holds in the UK for them and their families. These are British citizens who have as much to do with the middle east as I do. It is not right that synagogues now have to be protected by security guards and that banners are being seen and chants are being heard that say, “Kill all Jews”, “Hitler was right” and “Death to all Jews”. This situation is not tolerable. There are no excuses.” – David Burrowes: “I totally agree with my hon. Friend, and he is certainly right to raise issues about our Jewish constituents in this debate about security. The issue goes further than the physical threats. For the first time in my surgery, I encountered a family that is now fearful of its children going on a public bus to a Jewish school, or even of them going alone into the local Asda or Tesco. The family thinks how they look will give an indication of their being Jewish and that people will take an anti-Semitic view.” – CW: “I am aware of those concerns; they are shared by members of the Jewish faith in my constituency. The cancer of anti-Semitism is stalking our country under the disguise of a new cloak. This cloak must be stripped away, exposing the wickedness of those who lurk behind it. I am no saint in these matters. We all have the weakness to give in to the easy seduction of hate, so it is incumbent on us all to recognise the siren calls of that weakness and keep them in check. In coming here today, I do not want to stand behind my Jewish constituents; I do not want to stand beside them; I want to stand in front of them. I say this: if I had Christian constituents, Hindu constituents or Muslim constituents who felt threatened as a result of their faith or colour, I would stand in front of them as well.” – Caroline Lucas: [extract] “ISIL does not care about consistency, justice, human rights or international law, but it has been very adept at exploiting any double standards on our part—such as the illegal invasion of Iraq, and such as continuing support for the Israeli Government despite ongoing breaches of international law, repeated horrific and disproportionate attacks on Gaza, and, now, the biggest land grab in the occupied territories for 30 years.” – John Howell: [extract] In this speech, I want to take us back to the situation in Israel and Gaza, notwithstanding that there is a ceasefire, which continues to hold. I also want to draw attention to my entries in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. The trouble with saying anything about the Israel-Gaza situation is that unless we come out immediately as pro-Palestinian, we are put down as just listening to pro-Israeli military propaganda. This is both untrue and misses the point. Nothing I say is going to be anti-Palestinian, but what I say is going to be completely anti-Hamas. I have no sympathy for Israel when it comes to the building of settlements. The Foreign Secretary has already condemned this and I agree with him, and I urge Prime Minister Netanyahu to think again, but it would be wrong to address the situation in the middle east without condemning Hamas. It would be too easy to be dismissive of the role of Hamas in the current conflict, preferring to take a one-sided view of what Israel can do, rather than also round on Hamas. I am well aware of the history of the region. I have been in the region during a period of Hamas rocket attacks. In fact, I think I was in Jerusalem when Hamas fired its first rocket in that direction. We should not forget that this conflict came about as a result of Hamas firing rockets at Israel. I cannot see that it does any good to claim that this is not so. Hamas launched over 4,000 rockets in the recent period. It does no good to claim simply that these were homemade rockets when so many were Iranian in origin. What does this say about those who call for an arms embargo against Israel while allowing Hamas still to receive these rockets—these rockets that bring so many in the region within their reach? I cannot see that it does any good to claim that few of these fell in Israel or that Iron Dome protected Israel, as if simply having the means of protection was itself a crime. Nor does it do any good to see this as a numbers game. We all want to see an end to the killing, but totting up how many have been killed does not provide a justifiable comparison. If we simply descend into a one-for-one argument, we descend into an area into which I, for one, would be ashamed to go. We cannot achieve any results without looking at the tactics of either side. Hamas effectively uses the civilian population as a shield for its rockets and as a safe haven from which to fire those rockets. We have already seen it using United Nations schools and a medical facility to store rockets. Hamas was described by a constituent as a “brutal and anti-Semitic group which has been accused by Amnesty International and other NGOs of human rights abuses against the people of Gaza and of war crimes.” The shocking images of 22 Palestinians being lined up to be shot for allegedly supporting Israel should have sent shivers down the spines of those watching. This all demonstrates that the solution to Gaza does not lie in a Hamas-controlled state. I remain convinced that the region needs a two-state solution. Israeli attempts to build more settlements are admittedly not the way forward, but neither is a situation that includes Hamas in its current position. – Debbie Abrahams: “During the summer, I was contacted by hundreds of constituents from across Oldham and Saddleworth—the two very distinct parts of my constituency—who were appalled by what was happening in Gaza and Israel. The inter-faith forum comprising all religious groups in my constituency mounted a petition that amassed more than 8,300 signatures in six days. It was presented to Downing Street during the recess, and it called for Parliament to be recalled to debate the crisis facing Gaza and Israel. Many of my constituents were hugely disappointed that the Government did not believe a recall was warranted. We have already heard about the tragedy of the loss of life over the past few weeks, in Gaza in particular but also in Israel. This comes two years after the previous violence in the area. After the 2012 bombardment of Gaza, I was as appalled as many other hon. Members were, and I wanted to go and see for myself exactly what was happening. It was a moving experience, and it has left me with strong views. Consequently, I was disappointed that the Prime Minister did not feel able to condemn the indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks by Israel. That was highly regrettable and a huge mistake. We should be able to stand up to our friends and tell them when we disagree with them. The Foreign Secretary and my right hon. Friend the Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire South (Mr Alexander) have rightly said that a Palestinian child’s life is worth no less than that of an Israeli child. However, those are only warm words unless they are backed up by action. My hon. Friend the Member for Newport West (Paul Flynn) has rightly pointed out that much of the anger felt by our young people nationally and internationally is a result of the perceived injustice of no action being taken. Nothing is being done. We could not even recall Parliament. What message does that send? What does that make politics look like to ordinary people? It really is appalling. We must obviously welcome the peace that we now have, but history shows us that it will be sustained only if there is international pressure from Egypt and other neighbours as well as from us and, in particular, from the United States. Many have called for an investigation into whether the UK has supplied arms and components in this area. I was interested in what the Foreign Secretary said about there being no evidence for that, but I would like to see the details published. Until we have sustainable peace across the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel, there should be an arms embargo from the UK.” – Paul Flynn: “Does my hon. Friend agree with the statement made that Israel is indifferent to opinion in this country and in many other countries because it is shored up by public opinion in the United States? Is it not time for us to make a stand against Israel and tell it that it has gone too far?” – DA: “I could not agree more with my hon. Friend. The EU association agreement with Israel and the preferential trade terms should also be re-examined. The UK’s trade with Israel’s illegal settlements in Palestinian territory is not only illegal under international law, but a barrier to long-term peace. One way people get around the law is by mislabelling products. I was really disappointed by the response I received from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on that issue. I hope that the Home Secretary will be able to say in her response to this debate how we are monitoring that and ensuring that the law is enforced. The hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas) and my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Richard Burden) have both made important points about the inconsistency of our approach, which relates to the injustice that people perceive is meted out by us. There is such a difference in our approach to different areas. Sanctions against Russia are well deserved, but why is the same not happening in respect of Israel? We need to be able to explain that. In the long term, we must press the Israeli Government to be brave and take action on the settlements built by Israelis on Palestinian land. The most recent encroachment, days after the agreed peace deal, was most unhelpful, to say the least. Israel must also lift the blockade on Gaza, as stipulated in the peace agreement. We must also demand that Israel ends the discriminatory approach of its law. One law is applied to Israeli children and another is applied to Palestinian children. That is outrageous. We should be demanding more, not just from Israeli leaders, but from the Palestinian leaders of Hamas and Fatah, as they are not blameless. Leaders on both sides have let down their people, but there is hope and I believe that ordinary people will prevail. I was sincerely moved by the real desire of ordinary Palestinians and Israelis for peace. In the long term they will prevail.” – James Morris: [extract] “ISIL is operating out of Syria and northern Iraq, but there are also state-sponsored terrorist organisations, which have not been mentioned extensively in this debate, such as Hezbollah and Hamas.” – John McDonnell: [extract] “Like other hon. Members, I was lobbied all summer on Gaza. We had a meeting of 200 people in my constituency, which mobilised with the 100,000 on the demonstration. People tell me that British citizens fight not just in the Palestinian cause and elsewhere in the middle east, but for the Israel defence force. I would like to know from the Home Secretary what action will be taken with regard to their passports, and what action will be taken against them when they seek to return to this country.” – Crispin Blunt: [extract] “My right hon. Friend [referring to Liam Fox] did not address the question of why Hamas behaves as it does and why perfectly decent Palestinian students studying in London who are not religious fundamentalists support Hamas. We need to get to a place where we understand the forces of political Islam that we are dealing with.” – Jeremy Corbyn: “Does the hon. Gentleman not think that a political dialogue is needed at all levels, including Hamas in the elected Government of Gaza, to bring about and encourage a unified Government in Palestine, which will be in the interests of all Palestinians and of the region?” – CB: “I entirely agree with the hon. Gentleman.” [extract] – Yvette Cooper: In her summing up she mentioned that some MPs “spoke about the awful conditions in Gaza, and the need to break out of the cycle of violence“. She also said: “We stand against extremism and violence in all its forms wherever we see it, whether that is by condemning the appalling rise in anti-Semitic attacks or the awful increase in Islamophobic attacks”. – Theresa May: In winding up the debate she said that many members focussed on Israel, Hamas and Gaza, but they did not all share the same analysis of these issues.  concerning Israel and Gaza. My hon. Friend the Member for Henley (John Howell) spoke about the threat from Hamas. The hon. Member for Islington North (Jeremy Corbyn) also referred to these issues and asked about debating the US-UK mutual defence agreement. I can tell him that, in accordance with the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010, proposed amendments will be laid before Parliament for scrutiny later in the year. On Debbie Abrahams’ question relating to DEFRA [on product mislabelling] “I will ensure that she gets a written response to her question.” Hansard video  @ 12:45:40 Duration: 6hrs 15mins END