MPs' concern over violence in Gaza

Protesters against military action in Gaza during a demonstration in Bristo Square, Edinburgh

Protesters against military action in Gaza during a demonstration in Bristo Square, Edinburgh

First published in National News © by

Two Conservative MPs have written to the Government expressing their concern over the situation in Gaza as a veteran Liberal Democrat called on the Prime Minister to recall Parliament.

In a letter to Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, Margot James (Stourbridge), who is now working with William Hague, said her constituents regarded the Israeli action as "wholly disproportionate to the threat posed by Hamas".

The correspondence, seen by Channel 4 News, went on: " I ask that the Government rethinks policy towards the conflict in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

"The scale of suffering in Gaza is far too great, the loss of life, and particularly the lives of children and other vulnerable individuals, cannot be justified on the grounds of defence in proportion to the level of threat faced by Israel from Hamas.

"I also think that we should make it clear that it is unacceptable for Israel to just dismiss US proposals for peace without any debate whatsoever."

Fellow Tory Sir Peter Bottomley, who has emailed the chief whip Michael Gove, told BBC News that Israel must find that world opinion would not tolerate "this degree of death and devastation".

The MP for Worthing West, who has also sent a letter to the Israeli ambassador, added: "The issue now is if Israel is relying on other people to be silent, they will go on with the lack of proportionality and the death.

"Anyone who looks at the pictures of what is going on presently in Gaza...must know that the Israelis know what they are doing and what they are doing is wrong. Many Israelis know it is wrong."

He said the vast majority of Conservative MPs wanted to see Israel's right to exist recognised but did not believe the level of aggression shown was justified.

Meanwhile Sir Bob Russell, who sits on the defence committee, has called for an emergency session of the House of Commons as the civilian death toll continues to rise.

In a letter to David Cameron, he wrote: " On Monday last week...I suggested to you that the disproportionate action of Israel's political and military leaders constituted war crimes.

"In response you said that 'international law' required Israel to defend itself in a 'proportionate way'.

"Since I put this matter to you, more than a further 1,000 Palestinians - mostly civilians, including hundreds of children - have been killed by military attacks by Israel.

"If you, as Prime Minister, had ordered British troops to fire on civilian communities in the way Israelis have then you would be guilty of a war crime.

"As it is clear that Israel's behaviour is not proportionate, and that by their deliberate actions this places Israel's political and military leaders firmly in the court of international law to face war crimes, I write to request please that you arrange for the recall of Parliament in the coming week to debate the deteriorating situation in Gaza."

In a separate statement, shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander said the killing of sleeping Palestinian children taking shelter in a school bus had "horrified even those hardened to sustained suffering".

He added: "The reaction of people across the world to these scenes of bloodshed is to ask how many more children will die before a cessation of violence is achieved.

"Indeed the growing number of Palestinian civilians being killed is rightly provoking international outrage, and the continuing incursion into Gaza risks further international isolation for Israel and further international condemnation of its actions.

"Labour opposes the Israeli incursion into Gaza and reiterates its call for a ceasefire to now be agreed, to secure an end to the bloodshed and suffering and to allow dialogue, in time, to replace violence."

In his email to the chief whip, Sir Peter wrote: "We each know Israel has the right to exist. We know and ask that the attacks on Israelis cease. We know the settlements outside the proper borders of Israel are wrong.

"The situation now is different. That is why I have written this serious letter to Daniel Taub [Israeli ambassador]

"His Government has to pay attention to informed opinion amongst those who are not prejudiced against them."

In the letter to Mr Taub, he asked: "How many people in Gaza had electricity last week? How many will have electricity next week?

"Why do Israeli military spray sewage on shop fronts? Is it policy to refer to Palestinians as Arabs?

"Why does Israel appear to value differently the lives of Israelis and Palestinians?"

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said the UK was "deeply concerned" about the situation in Gaza and the tragic loss of life on all sides.

She added: "The Foreign Secretary has been absolutely clear that there needs to be an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to help alleviate the appalling humanitarian situation. All our efforts must be focused on achieving that ceasefire.

"Demands to take a different tack will simply dilute attempts to secure that.

"After a ceasefire has been agreed, we can then move to more substantive discussions on the underlying issues, including Israeli restrictions on Gaza, the conditions in Gaza and the threats to Israel from rockets and tunnels.

"Israel has the right to defend itself, but must do so in a way that complies with international law - in particular the principles of proportionality and necessity - in order to minimise the loss of civilian life.

"We remain focused on these priorities: securing a ceasefire, alleviating the humanitarian suffering, and keeping alive the prospects for peace negotiations, which are the only hope of breaking this cycle of violence."

Former Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt said the first step had to be securing an unconditional ceasefire.

He told Channel 4 News: "The most important thing is to stop the fighting and then get the talking started.

"We have to see how complex this is and what needs to be done. It is not just talking to Israel about what they should or shouldn't do.

"Israel will say well you are talking to us, no-one has talked to the Syrian Government about what they do...no-one talks to Hamas.

"The truth is this won't be settled until Arab states are able to pull Hamas away from Israel and their refusal to accept the existence of Israel.

"Let us get to Israel and say there is no answer to this unless they fully conclude the settlement with the Palestinian authority, those who have been willing to work with Israel, and don't fight it."

Asked about the White House's condemnation of the deadly school shelling on Wednesday, he said it was "genuinely remarkable".

US spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said earlier the Obama administration was "extremely concerned" that thousands of Palestinians were not safe in UN-designated shelters.

But Mr Burt insisted he did not have concerns about the British Government's policy.

Asked why it could not follow America's lead, the Tory MP for north-east Bedfordshire replied: "I'm not speaking for the British Government."

Questioned on whether it was time for Britain to use its influence to help bring about a solution, Mr Burt said: " From what I understand the Foreign Office is using every bit of leverage it can."

Comments (10)

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6:33pm Thu 31 Jul 14

cj07589 says...

Finally some politicians with a conscience well done to you both. How Israel has been allowed to get away with the war crimes to date is very disturbing.
Finally some politicians with a conscience well done to you both. How Israel has been allowed to get away with the war crimes to date is very disturbing. cj07589
  • Score: 3

7:01pm Thu 31 Jul 14

Shropshirelad says...

Now let us see Cameron and Phillip Hammond specifically, stop using their weasel words with an underlying encouragement to Israel and come straight out with the utmost condemnation of Israel. Until this happens, I have a most uncomfortable feeling that via the Israeli Embassy, finance has found it's way into the Tory Party from Tel Aviv and big business with Israeli ownership and/or sympathies. In all fairness, the Green Party and even the Labour Party in the shape of Ed Milliband have shown themselves to have some morality, courage and principle in condemning the Israeli atrocities. The Tories will stand condemned forever.
And, just for the Tories, whether you and Israel like it or not, the Palestinians are an occupied and illegally oppressed people with offences contrary to International Law being committed against them every day. They have every legal right to defend themselves and the firing of rockets and building tunnels are NOT against the law except the law that Israel and the Tories make up themselves.
Now let us see Cameron and Phillip Hammond specifically, stop using their weasel words with an underlying encouragement to Israel and come straight out with the utmost condemnation of Israel. Until this happens, I have a most uncomfortable feeling that via the Israeli Embassy, finance has found it's way into the Tory Party from Tel Aviv and big business with Israeli ownership and/or sympathies. In all fairness, the Green Party and even the Labour Party in the shape of Ed Milliband have shown themselves to have some morality, courage and principle in condemning the Israeli atrocities. The Tories will stand condemned forever. And, just for the Tories, whether you and Israel like it or not, the Palestinians are an occupied and illegally oppressed people with offences contrary to International Law being committed against them every day. They have every legal right to defend themselves and the firing of rockets and building tunnels are NOT against the law except the law that Israel and the Tories make up themselves. Shropshirelad
  • Score: 0

8:15pm Thu 31 Jul 14

Katie Re-Registered says...

cj07589 wrote:
Finally some politicians with a conscience well done to you both. How Israel has been allowed to get away with the war crimes to date is very disturbing.
Hmmm...since veteran Tories have such a 'conscience' and are particularly concerned to speak up about the rights of children, they might similarly now press the issue of where those files are that reportedly contain concerns passed on to the Thatcher government of the 1980s about the activities of some of their high profile MPs and which are now claimed to be 'missing'? Won't hold my breath though, eh?
[quote][p][bold]cj07589[/bold] wrote: Finally some politicians with a conscience well done to you both. How Israel has been allowed to get away with the war crimes to date is very disturbing.[/p][/quote]Hmmm...since veteran Tories have such a 'conscience' and are particularly concerned to speak up about the rights of children, they might similarly now press the issue of where those files are that reportedly contain concerns passed on to the Thatcher government of the 1980s about the activities of some of their high profile MPs and which are now claimed to be 'missing'? Won't hold my breath though, eh? Katie Re-Registered
  • Score: -2

5:26pm Fri 1 Aug 14

mixxer says...

The Israeli government are murdering and maiming scores of civilians on a daily basis and yet our mainstream politicians will not condemn this rogue state. Where are the sanctions they're are so eager to inflict on just about anyone else? Boycott all Israeli produce.
The Israeli government are murdering and maiming scores of civilians on a daily basis and yet our mainstream politicians will not condemn this rogue state. Where are the sanctions they're are so eager to inflict on just about anyone else? Boycott all Israeli produce. mixxer
  • Score: 0

7:14pm Fri 1 Aug 14

hursthill says...

This conflict kicked off with Hamas firing 2,600 rockets indiscriminately at Israel. 500 have fallen short & killed Palestinians.

The Hamas murderers are guilty of war crimes & crimes against humanity.

Israel has a moral & legal right to defend itself.

Hamas has used our aid money to buy advanced rockets from Syria & Iran. It s also constructed tunnels into Israel , to kill Israelis, at a cost of £millions.

Israel has no territorial claims on Gaza. It is hamas who want nothing less then to destroy Israel. They have rejected cease-fires arranged by the Un & Arab league, so they can carry on murdering Israelis. They want to impose their racist apartheid totalitarian ideology on Israel.

Show solidarity wit the Israeli people .
This conflict kicked off with Hamas firing 2,600 rockets indiscriminately at Israel. 500 have fallen short & killed Palestinians. The Hamas murderers are guilty of war crimes & crimes against humanity. Israel has a moral & legal right to defend itself. Hamas has used our aid money to buy advanced rockets from Syria & Iran. It s also constructed tunnels into Israel , to kill Israelis, at a cost of £millions. Israel has no territorial claims on Gaza. It is hamas who want nothing less then to destroy Israel. They have rejected cease-fires arranged by the Un & Arab league, so they can carry on murdering Israelis. They want to impose their racist apartheid totalitarian ideology on Israel. Show solidarity wit the Israeli people . hursthill
  • Score: 0

7:28pm Fri 1 Aug 14

welshmen says...

Shropshirelad wrote:
Now let us see Cameron and Phillip Hammond specifically, stop using their weasel words with an underlying encouragement to Israel and come straight out with the utmost condemnation of Israel. Until this happens, I have a most uncomfortable feeling that via the Israeli Embassy, finance has found it's way into the Tory Party from Tel Aviv and big business with Israeli ownership and/or sympathies. In all fairness, the Green Party and even the Labour Party in the shape of Ed Milliband have shown themselves to have some morality, courage and principle in condemning the Israeli atrocities. The Tories will stand condemned forever.
And, just for the Tories, whether you and Israel like it or not, the Palestinians are an occupied and illegally oppressed people with offences contrary to International Law being committed against them every day. They have every legal right to defend themselves and the firing of rockets and building tunnels are NOT against the law except the law that Israel and the Tories make up themselves.
And while there's idiots like you, there will never be any peace anywhere, your way is the death way, Israel is not going away, not without killing Millions of people, talking is the way, even after more people are killed they will all have to get round a table and talk it out, the other alternative's are for the Arab world to join Hamas and exterminate Israel, or for Israel to Level Gazza to the ground, either of those are not an option for lasting peace, jaw jaw not war war, and as for this Country helping a Terrorist Organisation like Hamas that's a no go....
[quote][p][bold]Shropshirelad[/bold] wrote: Now let us see Cameron and Phillip Hammond specifically, stop using their weasel words with an underlying encouragement to Israel and come straight out with the utmost condemnation of Israel. Until this happens, I have a most uncomfortable feeling that via the Israeli Embassy, finance has found it's way into the Tory Party from Tel Aviv and big business with Israeli ownership and/or sympathies. In all fairness, the Green Party and even the Labour Party in the shape of Ed Milliband have shown themselves to have some morality, courage and principle in condemning the Israeli atrocities. The Tories will stand condemned forever. And, just for the Tories, whether you and Israel like it or not, the Palestinians are an occupied and illegally oppressed people with offences contrary to International Law being committed against them every day. They have every legal right to defend themselves and the firing of rockets and building tunnels are NOT against the law except the law that Israel and the Tories make up themselves.[/p][/quote]And while there's idiots like you, there will never be any peace anywhere, your way is the death way, Israel is not going away, not without killing Millions of people, talking is the way, even after more people are killed they will all have to get round a table and talk it out, the other alternative's are for the Arab world to join Hamas and exterminate Israel, or for Israel to Level Gazza to the ground, either of those are not an option for lasting peace, jaw jaw not war war, and as for this Country helping a Terrorist Organisation like Hamas that's a no go.... welshmen
  • Score: 1

8:55pm Fri 1 Aug 14

Shropshirelad says...

Yes, a very intelligent reply Welshmen, you obviously have a first hand knowledge of all things Israeli and Palestinian but then, I was being sarcastic and facetious. Perhaps you are not aware though that Israel has quite deliberately sabotaged every single peace initiative since 1948 and is quite unwilling to jaw- jaw as you put it. I am glad that you recognise that Israel is not going to go away "without killing millions of people". Whether she goes or stays, she is hell-bent on killing millions of Palestinians anyway. I have a shrewd feeling that you have a closer affinity with Israel than you are letting on. No wonder I detect a hint of shame Welshmen.
Yes, a very intelligent reply Welshmen, you obviously have a first hand knowledge of all things Israeli and Palestinian but then, I was being sarcastic and facetious. Perhaps you are not aware though that Israel has quite deliberately sabotaged every single peace initiative since 1948 and is quite unwilling to jaw- jaw as you put it. I am glad that you recognise that Israel is not going to go away "without killing millions of people". Whether she goes or stays, she is hell-bent on killing millions of Palestinians anyway. I have a shrewd feeling that you have a closer affinity with Israel than you are letting on. No wonder I detect a hint of shame Welshmen. Shropshirelad
  • Score: 3

10:14pm Fri 1 Aug 14

welshmen says...

Shropshirelad wrote:
Yes, a very intelligent reply Welshmen, you obviously have a first hand knowledge of all things Israeli and Palestinian but then, I was being sarcastic and facetious. Perhaps you are not aware though that Israel has quite deliberately sabotaged every single peace initiative since 1948 and is quite unwilling to jaw- jaw as you put it. I am glad that you recognise that Israel is not going to go away "without killing millions of people". Whether she goes or stays, she is hell-bent on killing millions of Palestinians anyway. I have a shrewd feeling that you have a closer affinity with Israel than you are letting on. No wonder I detect a hint of shame Welshmen.
What you on, get your facts right, you are just another hater, listen to your self, are you Islam's special envoy to the Middles East sent by Saudi Arabia to spin everything positive into a negative, go and bore someone else with your non-factual drivel, the only thing you detect is Idiosyncrasies from the outer reaches of your one brain cell, jog on....As do I feel a hint of shame, yes I do, I feel ashamed of a Religion that want's not only Israel but the rest of the World to rule with their Barbaric 7th Century Cult Culture....
[quote][p][bold]Shropshirelad[/bold] wrote: Yes, a very intelligent reply Welshmen, you obviously have a first hand knowledge of all things Israeli and Palestinian but then, I was being sarcastic and facetious. Perhaps you are not aware though that Israel has quite deliberately sabotaged every single peace initiative since 1948 and is quite unwilling to jaw- jaw as you put it. I am glad that you recognise that Israel is not going to go away "without killing millions of people". Whether she goes or stays, she is hell-bent on killing millions of Palestinians anyway. I have a shrewd feeling that you have a closer affinity with Israel than you are letting on. No wonder I detect a hint of shame Welshmen.[/p][/quote]What you on, get your facts right, you are just another hater, listen to your self, are you Islam's special envoy to the Middles East sent by Saudi Arabia to spin everything positive into a negative, go and bore someone else with your non-factual drivel, the only thing you detect is Idiosyncrasies from the outer reaches of your one brain cell, jog on....As do I feel a hint of shame, yes I do, I feel ashamed of a Religion that want's not only Israel but the rest of the World to rule with their Barbaric 7th Century Cult Culture.... welshmen
  • Score: -3

11:32pm Fri 1 Aug 14

arvs69 says...

welshmen wrote:
Shropshirelad wrote:
Yes, a very intelligent reply Welshmen, you obviously have a first hand knowledge of all things Israeli and Palestinian but then, I was being sarcastic and facetious. Perhaps you are not aware though that Israel has quite deliberately sabotaged every single peace initiative since 1948 and is quite unwilling to jaw- jaw as you put it. I am glad that you recognise that Israel is not going to go away "without killing millions of people". Whether she goes or stays, she is hell-bent on killing millions of Palestinians anyway. I have a shrewd feeling that you have a closer affinity with Israel than you are letting on. No wonder I detect a hint of shame Welshmen.
What you on, get your facts right, you are just another hater, listen to your self, are you Islam's special envoy to the Middles East sent by Saudi Arabia to spin everything positive into a negative, go and bore someone else with your non-factual drivel, the only thing you detect is Idiosyncrasies from the outer reaches of your one brain cell, jog on....As do I feel a hint of shame, yes I do, I feel ashamed of a Religion that want's not only Israel but the rest of the World to rule with their Barbaric 7th Century Cult Culture....
I really don't know how to respond to your Nazis views. What I can say for sure, all governments know there can be no peace in Middle East, but they will never admit it openly. The simple reason being, Middle East is sacred to the 3 main religions (Christianity, Judaism & Islam). Palestine should be made into an international country and run by members of each religion sitting in government in my opinion. I don't know the workings of government and i will leave that to the experts but it's the only logical solution the problem.
[quote][p][bold]welshmen[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Shropshirelad[/bold] wrote: Yes, a very intelligent reply Welshmen, you obviously have a first hand knowledge of all things Israeli and Palestinian but then, I was being sarcastic and facetious. Perhaps you are not aware though that Israel has quite deliberately sabotaged every single peace initiative since 1948 and is quite unwilling to jaw- jaw as you put it. I am glad that you recognise that Israel is not going to go away "without killing millions of people". Whether she goes or stays, she is hell-bent on killing millions of Palestinians anyway. I have a shrewd feeling that you have a closer affinity with Israel than you are letting on. No wonder I detect a hint of shame Welshmen.[/p][/quote]What you on, get your facts right, you are just another hater, listen to your self, are you Islam's special envoy to the Middles East sent by Saudi Arabia to spin everything positive into a negative, go and bore someone else with your non-factual drivel, the only thing you detect is Idiosyncrasies from the outer reaches of your one brain cell, jog on....As do I feel a hint of shame, yes I do, I feel ashamed of a Religion that want's not only Israel but the rest of the World to rule with their Barbaric 7th Century Cult Culture....[/p][/quote]I really don't know how to respond to your Nazis views. What I can say for sure, all governments know there can be no peace in Middle East, but they will never admit it openly. The simple reason being, Middle East is sacred to the 3 main religions (Christianity, Judaism & Islam). Palestine should be made into an international country and run by members of each religion sitting in government in my opinion. I don't know the workings of government and i will leave that to the experts but it's the only logical solution the problem. arvs69
  • Score: 1

11:06am Sat 2 Aug 14

welshmen says...

arvs69

I really don't know how to respond to your Nazis views. What I can say for sure, all governments know there can be no peace in Middle East, but they will never admit it openly. The simple reason being, Middle East is sacred to the 3 main religions (Christianity, Judaism & Islam). Palestine should be made into an international country and run by members of each religion sitting in government in my opinion. I don't know the workings of government and I will leave that to the experts but it's the only logical solution the problem.....

Keep making your UAF flag's and banners Fascist, religion kill's every day, never ending death for a sky god....
arvs69 I really don't know how to respond to your Nazis views. What I can say for sure, all governments know there can be no peace in Middle East, but they will never admit it openly. The simple reason being, Middle East is sacred to the 3 main religions (Christianity, Judaism & Islam). Palestine should be made into an international country and run by members of each religion sitting in government in my opinion. I don't know the workings of government and I will leave that to the experts but it's the only logical solution the problem..... Keep making your UAF flag's and banners Fascist, religion kill's every day, never ending death for a sky god.... welshmen
  • Score: -4
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