Yorkshire MPs condemn violence in Israel and Gaza and urge UK government to act

Yorkshire MPs across the political spectrum have condemned the violence in Gaza and Israel and urged the UK government to call for peace.

Israeli men check the damages after a rocket attack from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, in the central Israeli city of Petah Tikva
Israeli men check the damages after a rocket attack from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, in the central Israeli city of Petah Tikva

Dozens have died amid Israeli air strikes and Palestinian rocket attacks, but Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has tweeted to say he has spoken to his counterpart in Israel and the UK is “appealing for calm” and “a de-escalation of the violence on all sides”.

The violence has escalated significantly since Monday, when Israeli police clashed with Palestinians at a holy site in East Jerusalem which is revered by Muslims and Jews.

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Fabian Hamilton, MP for Leeds North East, said: “Hundreds of my constituents have contacted me to express their horror at the scenes of violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Palestinian men sit amidst debris near the al-Sharouk tower, which housed the bureau of the Al-Aqsa television channel in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, after it was destroyed by an Israeli air strike

“Many people in Jewish and Muslim communities in Leeds have relatives living in the region and are understandably extremely concerned for their wellbeing.

“The attacks that have endangered civilian lives and have resulted in Palestinian and Israeli casualties – including many children – are disgraceful and shocking.”

Five Labour MPs who represent constituencies in Sheffield – Olivia Blake, Clive Betts, Paul Blomfield, Gill Furniss and Louise Haigh – have criticised the Israeli government and asked the UK government to take action.

In a joint letter to Mr Raab, they wrote: “We urge you to condemn all attacks on civilians and call for Israeli police and security forces to stop their use of violence on worshippers at the Al-Asqa mosque, end the air bombardment of Gaza and take immediate steps to halt all home invasions and violence in Sheik Jarrah.”

Robbie Moore, Conservative MP for Keighley and Ilkley, has written to the Foreign Secretary to say the UK should use its “enormous international clout” to “call for calm and if necessary look at further options with the international community to de-escalate the situation".

He also condemned the Israeli government’s decision to evict dozens of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, in East Jerusalem, claiming it is causing “extreme suffering”.

The letter states: “The actions call into question Israel's commitment to a viable two-state solution and, in all but the most exceptional cases, are contrary to international Humanitarian Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

Naz Shah, Labour MP for Bradford West, wrote a letter to Mr Raab which states the Israeli government is "continuing to violate international law" and "using force against a defenceless population".

She added: "If Britain is to hold fast in being a world leader and a nation that stands up for human rights and the rule of law, then it must speak up unequivocally, whether the perpetrator of such crimes is a friend or foe.”

In another letter, Alex Sobel, Labour MP for Leeds North West, condemned the "horrific violence being used against Palestinian civilians" and denounced the rocket attacks on Israeli citizens.

"Sending thousands of rockets indiscriminately into civilian areas killing innocent civilians is wrong," he wrote.

"I am deeply concerned that the UK has yet to definitively act, despite the clear breach of international law and the condemnation of ongoing violence by the United Stated and the European Union."

In a statement issued earlier today, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to "continue to take action to strike at the military capabilities of Hamas and the other terrorist organisations operating in the Gaza Strip".

Commenting on the impending eviction of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem, he said: "We emphatically reject the pressures not to build in Jerusalem".

He added: "Unfortunately, these pressures have been increasing of late. I say to our best friends as well: Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

"Just as every people builds its capital and in its capital, so too do we reserve the right to build Jerusalem and in Jerusalem. This is what we have done and what we will continue to do."