I have watched the recent events unfolding in Israel and Gaza with horror. It is difficult to find the right words at such a distressing time.
I have received hundreds of emails from people in our community over the past two weeks.
You can read my thoughts below.
Thousands of innocent people have been killed. Many thousands more have been injured. Both these numbers are likely to rise. My thoughts are with the victims and everyone who has been affected by this appalling, and ongoing, violence.
Firstly, as your local MP, I have been in close contact with community leaders and the police to discuss community safety, and to reassure the Jewish and Muslim communities I represent. With Tell Mama and CST reporting over 300% increases in Islamophobic and anti-Semitic incidents, it is absolutely vital we come together as a community to support each other and stand against those who seek to divide us, as we know events in the Middle East cause huge pain in our communities here in the UK.
I unequivocally condemn Hamas’ terrorism and the senseless violence against innocent people that occurred on 7 October.
This was a massacre, reminiscent of pogroms which took place in the 19th and early 20th century. I want to express my sympathy to all grieving families in Israel and across the world, and all those affected, including the British hostages held by Hamas. My thoughts are also with our Jewish community in Enfield Southgate who I know are in deep shock and grief following Hamas’s brutal attacks.
In Gaza, the already dire humanitarian situation is escalating to catastrophe.
Whole neighbourhoods have been razed to the ground, with more than 3,000 people killed due to Israeli airstrikes, including thousands of children. The order that over a million Gazans leave their homes has led to chaos – without international aid, they will face hunger and thirst which will undoubtedly lead to many more deaths. My sympathy is with Palestinian families who have lost loved ones, or who are struggling to get news as to whether their relatives are alive or dead.
I believe we need a negotiated ceasefire immediately – to protect innocent civilians.
The international community has a responsibility to promote this. International law must be upheld. Hostages must be returned to their families. Palestinian civilians need immediate safety from airstrikes. And we urgently need humanitarian aid corridors to be opened so that people can access food, water, medicines, and shelter. If this does not happen immediately, it will be nothing short of a humanitarian disaster.
The world must act before it is too late.
In the long term, we must support progress towards a negotiated settlement based on two states: with a safe and secure Israel alongside a sovereign Palestine. This, now, feels more remote than ever. And as the horrifying backdrop of war continues, the international community must make efforts to ensure all perpetrators of war crimes are held accountable. To be clear: the deliberate targeting of civilians is a war crime, as is the wilful destruction of civilian infrastructure which will undoubtedly lead to loss of civilian life.
This week I have written to the Foreign Secretary on the above points, urging the UK Government to support a ceasefire to protect civilian lives, and for the UK to do all it can to ensure aid reaches Palestinians in desperate need.
Important information, charity links and donations
Charities working in Gaza
I know this conflict will have deeply affected many people in our community, and many have asked how we can come together to help people in Gaza right now.
As the crisis in Gaza escalates, I think often of the Gazans I have met – in particular, the brave staff of Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), who are working around the clock to provide life-saving care in the most brutal of circumstances.
MAP have launched an emergency appeal to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where hospitals are struggling to cope.
Many other charities and organisations are appealing for support too, and you can find some more appeals below.
- The Red Cross – https://donate.redcross.org.uk/appeal/israel-and-occupied-palestinian-territory-appeal
- Save the Children – https://www.savethechildren.org.uk/how-you-can-help/emergencies/gaza-israel-conflict
- UNICEF – https://www.unicef.org/appeals/state-of-palestine
- World Food Programme – https://www.wfp.org/support-us/stories/palestine-appeal
FCDO Travel Advice
In the past two weeks, my office has supported constituents and their families who were stranded in the region following Hamas’s terrorist attacks.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office is regularly updating its travel advice, including for Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan.
You can find the latest advice on the FCDO website here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
This page was last updated on 20 October 2023.