Thank you for contacting me about situation in Israel.
I share your concern about the violence we have witnessed in recent weeks. My thoughts are with all those affected, especially the families of those civilians killed.
From the outset, the United Kingdom unequivocally condemned the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Hamas and other terrorist groups at Jerusalem and locations in Israel. There was no justification for these attacks, and the United Kingdom fully supported the right of Israel to defend its citizens against them. In doing so, of course, the United Kingdom was clear that it was essential for actions to be proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and that every effort was made to avoid civilian casualties.
I welcome the announced ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, effective as of 21st May. This is an essential step to ending the cycle of violence and loss of civilian life. The United Kingdom worked actively to urge the parties to work with mediators towards an immediate ceasefire, and fully supported Egyptian, Qatari and United Nations efforts to that end, working closely with the United States.
I note your point about Sheikh Jarrah. The United Kingdom’s opposition to evictions of Palestinians from their homes are long-standing and well known. The United Kingdom is clear that, in all but the most exceptional of circumstances, evictions are contrary to international humanitarian law. The practice causes unnecessary suffering to Palestinians and is harmful to efforts to promote peace. However, this is certainly no justification for the violence we witnessed.
The United Kingdom is clear that the violence against peaceful worshippers at the al-Aqsa mosque was unacceptable. Attacks against peaceful worshippers of any faith must stop. The status quo in Jerusalem is important at all times, especially during religious festivals such as Ramadan. I encourage all parties to maintain calm, avoid provocation and uphold the status quo to ensure the safety and the security of the Al Haram Al Sharif / Temple Mount and all who worship there. I urge all sides to refrain from any kind of provocation so that calm is restored as quickly as possible. The restoration of peace and security is in everyone’s interests.
All sides must now work together to consolidate the ceasefire, facilitate humanitarian access in and out of Gaza, and to find a durable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which will end the cycle of violence and deliver a sustainable and just peace.
The United Kingdom remains committed to the two-state solution as the best way to bring peace and stability to the region. I am assured that the United Kingdom will do all it can to support efforts to this end.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.