It is hard to watch the news right now. We continue to hear reports of the brutal terrorism of Hamas, which still holds more than 200 Israelis hostage in Gaza. And now we have a situation in Gaza which is frankly devastating. The 2.2 million residents of the Gaza Strip, over half of whom are children, are hurtling towards a humanitarian catastrophe. It is horrifying.
Liberal Democrats are clear: it is vital that essential supplies like food, water and medicine get to innocent Palestinian civilians in Gaza, in line with international law. It is also of the utmost importance that the hostages - among whose number includes children as young as nine months old - are immediately and unconditionally released.
We support Israel’s right to protect its citizens and target these brutal terrorists Hamas, in line with international law. We are clear that innocent Palestinians must not pay the price for the atrocities of Hamas. And we affirm that the world has a duty to prevent needless civilian deaths.
That’s why, over the weekend, we declared our support for a temporary humanitarian ceasefire, in order to bring about a pause in hostilities. We need the space for an intense period of diplomacy, to get humanitarian aid into Gaza, and to provide an opportunity to realise the release of the hostages.
In the House of Commons earlier this week, I asked the Prime Minister to support our call.
You can watch my question here:
We were not alone when we called for a humanitarian ceasefire. Others, like the Archbishop of Canterbury, had already done so. And in the days since, there has been some movement within the international community and within the UK. Both the Government and the Labour Party now call for what they term a ‘humanitarian pause’. But there is further to go.
We are clear that the people of Israel and Pakistan have a right to live free from fear. The thing that will ultimately give them the security which they deserve - the security which will prevent the sort of scenes which we have seen over the past days - is to finally bring about the two state solution, and a lasting peace.
Liberal Democrats are the party of internationalism and international law. We have long advocated for a two state solution, and we will continue to do so.
Ed Davey MP - Leader of the Liberal Democrats