I have been very concerned by the violence that we have seen occur around protests on the Gaza border. All states, including Israel have the right to secure their borders. It is now clear that the terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad played a role in instigating the violence and exploiting the protests. However, the tragic loss of life and large number of Palestinians injured is extremely worrying. I am particularly concerned about the volume of live fire that was used by Israeli forces. I also condemn the recent mortar and rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel.
All parties must commit to respecting peaceful protest, showing restraint and following international law. There is a clearly a need to establish the full facts around the events on the Gaza border and that is why I back calls for an independent and transparent investigation.
I welcome the UN Human Rights Council’s recent decision to dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate the violence. I know that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has also committed to investigating the conduct of its troops on the Gaza border.
Terrible events such as these remind us of the pressing need to work towards the two-state solution that we all want to see: a secure, internationally recognised Israel living in peace alongside a viable state of Palestine and an end to the senseless cycle of violence.
This will require both sides – and the international community as a whole – to come together as a matter of urgency. It will also require both sides avoiding actions that put the two-state solution at risk and make peace harder to achieve. I spoke about this matter in Parliament; you can see what I had to say here.
I will continue to follow the situation in Gaza closely.