Palestinians: Visa Scheme — [Martin Vickers in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall am 7:01 pm ar 13 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Tom Pursglove Tom Pursglove Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery) 7:01, 13 Mai 2024

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Hollobone.

It is fair to say that all of us in this House are deeply concerned and moved by events in the middle east. The barbaric attack perpetrated on 7 October by Hamas was an affront to humanity. At the same time as we condemn Hamas, lament the loss of life they inflicted and demand the release of the hostages, we are also united in our horror at the civilian casualties and the scale of the suffering in Gaza. Israel has a right—indeed, a responsibility—to defend itself against the threat from terrorists. As we have made clear repeatedly, it is important that it does so in accordance with international humanitarian law. I reiterate that point today.

Hon. Members will be aware that the Government have mounted, and continue to mount, a large-scale effort to facilitate the flow of aid that is so desperately needed. As the Deputy Foreign Secretary said in the House less than a week ago,

“We want to see an end to the fighting as soon as possible… the fastest way to end the conflict is to secure a deal that gets the hostages out and allows for a pause in the fighting in Gaza. We must then turn that pause into a sustainable, permanent ceasefire.

Regarding the situation in Rafah, our position has been consistent. We are deeply concerned about the prospect of a military incursion, given the number of civilians who are sheltering there and the importance of that entry point for aid. Entry points for humanitarian aid, including Kerem Shalom, must be reopened quickly to allow aid in. Israel must facilitate immediate, uninterrupted humanitarian access in the south, especially the entry of fuel, and ensure the protection of civilians and safe passage for those who wish to leave Rafah. As yet, we have not seen a credible plan to protect civilians…

In parallel, we continue to push as hard as we can to get much-needed aid into Gaza via vital land routes, alongside sea and air, to alleviate the suffering. Israel has now committed to significant steps to increase the amount of aid getting into Gaza.”—[Official Report, 7 May 2024;
Vol. 749, c. 443.]