Israel/Gaza update

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written statement – made am ar 23 Chwefror 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Andrew Mitchell Andrew Mitchell Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development and Africa)

The Government supports Israels right to self-defence, in compliance with International Humanitarian Law, against the horrific terror attacks perpetrated by Hamas on 7 October 2023.

We condemn the slaughter, abuse and gender-based violence perpetrated on 7th October 2023, Hamas’ use of civilian areas, their continued failure to release hostages and their ongoing launching of attacks into Israel.

We are working to end the fighting in Gaza, to stop the further loss of civilian lives and create the conditions for a permanent peace.

The most effective way to end the fighting in Gaza is to agree an immediate humanitarian pause, which we have consistently called for. This would allow for the safe release of hostages and a significant increase in the aid going to Gaza.

Crucially, it would also provide a vital opportunity to establish the conditions for a genuinely long-term and sustainable ceasefire, without a return to destruction, fighting and loss of life.

That is a position shared by our close partners, and what our diplomatic efforts are focused on.

We have set out the vital elements for a lasting peace, namely:

  • the immediate release of all hostages;
  • removing Hamas’s capacity to launch attacks against Israel;
  • Hamas no longer being in charge of Gaza;
  • the formation of a new Palestinian Government for the West Bank and Gaza, accompanied by an international support package; and,
  • a political horizon which provides a credible and irreversible pathway towards a two-state solution.

We are increasingly concerned about the growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza and recognise the urgent need to significantly scale up the flow of aid getting in. All parties must take immediate steps to ensure unhindered humanitarian access, ease restrictions on humanitarian supplies and ensure the UN and aid agencies can reach civilians in need throughout Gaza.

The UK is stepping up support. We have tripled our aid commitment. In the last week, family tents provided by the UK and Qatar have arrived in Rafah, and on Wednesday, the UK and Jordan air-dropped life-saving aid to a hospital in northern Gaza, providing four tonnes of vital supplies including medicines and food for hospital patients and staff.

We remain deeply concerned at the number of civilian casualties to date, and at the prospect of an Israeli military offensive into Rafah. Over half of Gaza’s population are sheltering in the area, and the Rafah crossing is vital to ensure aid can reach the people who so desperately need it. We continue to urge Israel to limit its operations to military targets and avoid harming citizens.

Ultimately, a two-state solution is the best way to ensure safety and security for both Israelis and Palestinians. Our long-standing position remains that we will recognise a Palestinian State at a time that is most conducive to the peace process.

The Palestinian Authority has an important long-term role to play and will need continued support from us and our partners, but it must also take concrete steps on reform. We remain concerned about the situation in the West Bank– and have taken action in response to extremist settler violence.

We are committed to finding a lasting resolution to this conflict that ensures Israelis and Palestinians can live in the future with dignity and security. It is the aim of the Government to see an end to the fighting as soon as possible and the creation of a permanent peace based on a new political horizon for the region.