Over the last week, I have been contacted by hundreds of constituents about the growing violence and tension in Israel/Palestine following the kidnap and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank and a Palestinian teenager in East Jerusalem. The abductions are appalling crimes and my thoughts are with the families of those who have lost loved ones.
Since the abductions, Israeli forces have carried out repeated raids and arrests in East Jerusalem and the West Bank against suspected militants. Reports from Gaza of the impact of the shelling have been appalling. Estimates now suggest that at least 192 people have been killed by Israeli air strikes in the last eight days. We are now at a critical point, and I hope that both Israelis and Palestinians will show maximum restraint and try to prevent tensions from escalating further. Part of this must be ensuring that the civilian population on both sides is protected.
It is vital that the UK government works with its international allies in calling for calm and encouraging dialogue between Israel and Palestine. I will be writing to everyone who has taken the trouble to write to me shortly, enclosing a letter that I have written to the Foreign Secretary asking what action the UK government is taking to end the deaths and violence in Palestine. I will also aim to raise my concerns with him at Foreign and Commonwealth Office questions, which are due to take place next Tuesday (22 July) too.
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