I am appalled that we have to be here again because of the dreadful situation in Gaza.
People have a right to live in peace, free from attack.
Children should be able to sleep through the night free from air-raids or rocket attack
Attacking civilian populations is a crime: there should be no impunity – whoever is responsible.
We should be afraid and angry about the current escalation around Gaza because this has nothing to do with security and will increase insecurity in the region.
The situation in the area had been relatively quiet recently: now we see an escalation. Why? The Israeli economy is in difficulty: there is an election approaching: Netanyahu’s Party (Likud) is merging with a hardline party (Israel Beiteinu) and needs to assert this new identity. We are hearing that there had been negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians about longer-term ceasefire, opening Rafah and helping to boost the economy of Gaza – which needs that possibility as there is at least a 30% unemployment rate there..
Any progress has now been halted – again.
This conflict has nothing to do with increasing security; securing peace or securing prosperity – it has everything to do with internal politics.
The international community must take action. It is not enough to simply secure a ceasefire, essential though that is.
We have to tackle the ongoing injustices:
The increase in illegal settlements
The apartheid wall
The imprisonment of children
The check-points, the arbitrary arrests, the delays getting medical care, the everyday humiliations and difficulties that stop the Palestinian people from living normal lives, developing their own economy and strengthening democracy and human rights.
Having a viable, Palestinian state
All of that would offer security for both the Israeli and Palestinian people
The EU is the largest multi-lateral donor to the Palestinian Authorities. The EU is Israel’s largest trading partner. The EU must use that power.
We need an arms embargo both in to and out of the area. No-one should be selling arms there. Nor should we be buying arms there, as Israel grows as an arms producer.
We should invoke the Human Rights clause of the EU-Israel Association Agreement and suspend that agreement.
We should be tracing the money behind the illegal settlements and stopping that support which does nothing to bring about a solution.
The Palestinian people will be at the UN at the end of the month, seeking recognition: will our Government support that?
We have to stand firm. Aggression must not pay.
We need a ceasefire now.
Stop the killings.
Freedom for the Palestinian people.