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Gale's View

Gaza/Israel

February 18th 2024

“On Wednesday 21st February parliament will vote on whether or not to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza” say some of the emails that I have received.

 

I know of no decent person that would not wish to see a full and final cessation of the hostilities in the Middle East but that is not what the motion and its supporters are calling for.  They are seeking a unilateral ceasefire by the Israeli Defence Force. They know that that is not achievable. Whether intentionally or otherwise they are engaging in futile  gesture politics of a kind of which I would not wish to be a part.

 

A true ceasefire will require that both Hamas and the IDF lay down their arms and recant their proclaimed determination to destroy each other.   I believe that the statements, which I wholeheartedly endorse, made by the King of Jordan and by our own Foreign Secretary, David Cameron, point towards the right and probably the only way forward.

 

I spent some time,  this week,  in personal discussion with the President of Cyprus and colleagues,  exploring the possibility of sending humanitarian aid – food, shelter and medical support – directly into Gaza from the port of Larnaca.  Cyprus is about two hundred miles by sea from Gaza and with goodwill it ought to be possible to send the desperately  required assistance  without  having to route it via Egypt with the inevitable complications and bureaucracy. That is an achievable objective.  It will indeed require, as a prerequisite, a ceasefire – but that ceasefire  will have to be bi-lateral and an end to not just some but all of the slaughter.  That is what we should be working for and that is what, when it votes, I would hope that the House of Commons will support rather than the one-sided and meaningless motion  that it is likely be asked to consider  this week.

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