The events we have seen unfolding in Israel are truly horrific. I join the UK Government in utterly condemning the appalling attacks perpetrated by Hamas, standing resolutely with Israel in defending itself against terror and highlighting the need to act in accordance with international humanitarian law.
The UK recognises the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, and supports a lasting solution for Israelis and Palestinians alike. However, Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people or their aspirations; it offers nothing for them other than more terror and more bloodshed. I therefore support Israel’s right to go after Hamas, take back the hostages, deter further incursions and strengthen its security for the long term.
The loss of every innocent life is a tragedy, and while acknowledging that Hamas has enmeshed itself amidst the civilian population of Gaza, the UK Government has called on and will continue to call on Israel to take every possible precaution to avoid harming civilians.
The rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza is also deeply troubling. On 23 October the Government announced an additional £20 million of humanitarian aid. This additional funding more than doubles the UK’s previous support for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and means that the UK continues to be at the forefront of the global effort to help the Palestinian people access the vital support they need. I have also been assured that the UK will consider further support depending on changing humanitarian needs on the ground.
However, funding alone is not enough, and I welcome the extensive diplomatic efforts the UK is making to ensure humanitarian support reaches those who need it. The Prime Minister has raised humanitarian support during his meetings with the leaders of Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Palestinian Authority, and during the Foreign Secretary’s recent visit to the region, he spoke to counterparts in Egypt, Turkey and Qatar to work with them to push for agreement on ongoing humanitarian access to Gaza.