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Humanitarian Emergency in Gaza
The events of the last few weeks have shaken our communities. We are all shocked and saddened by the horrifying news and images from Israel and Palestine. The tensions and violence are not new in the region. Decades of a lack of international leadership on Israel and Palestine has seen periods of escalated violence, law breaking and suffering. We share the deep pain and distress you are feeling about the ongoing violence and humanitarian crisis in Palestine.
There are clear reports that there have been atrocities committed that amount to war crimes under international law. The use of white phosphorous in Gaza and Lebanon, the starving of access to food, water, and electricity to over 1 million Palestinians, and the attacks on and hostage-taking of innocent civilians – all are condemnable acts. There can be no justification for the murder of innocent men, women and children.
As Luton’s Members of Parliament, we stand firmly alongside international calls for peace, the cessation of violence of all military parties and the de-escalation of the crisis. We have consistently called for increased humanitarian aid to Gaza, the safe return of hostages and those being held on both sides, and renewed negotiations for lasting peace in the Middle East.
We also see that Gaza’s vital healthcare system is suffering a near total collapse. This will have appalling consequences given that thousands are injured in Gaza due to Israeli military action and others are relying on healthcare for illnesses or pregnancy. Hospitals desperately need not just medical aid but fuel. This is critical. The international community cannot and should not turn a blind eye and the UK government needs to do much more on this urgent need.
As your parliamentary representatives, we have been questioning the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary on their failure to stand up for Palestinians, the UN’s grave warnings of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, and have called on the UK Government to work with international partners to get more food, water, medicine and fuel into Gaza.
To ensure we are kept up to date on what is happening in Gaza, we, and our parliamentary offices, are in contact with a number of organisations including Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East (LFPME), Council for Arab-British Understanding (CAABU), Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), Amnesty International, Islamic Relief and Oxfam GB. We have also received in person briefings from Dr Husam Zomlot, the Palestinian Ambassador to the UK, including on the importance of full and equal application of international law.
We are deeply concerned about reports of increasing Islamophobia and antisemitism incidents in the UK over the last few weeks. There must be zero tolerance for any intimidation and harassment directed towards any community here in Luton and across the UK. We are in routine contact with Bedfordshire Police about the situation locally. If you have experienced a hate crime, please report it to the police if you can or if you want it reported on your behalf, speak to any of our team, the leadership in your place of worship or organisations like Tell Mama (0800 456 1226 / email@example.com).
We will keep you updated on our actions as the situation continues. If you have loved ones in Gaza and are concerned about their welfare, please contact our teams: Luton South (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Luton North (email@example.com).
Parts of our society may feel more divided than ever, but we are united in wanting to see an end to the bloodshed, the protection of innocent civilians caught in a conflict, and united in wanting to see a lasting and just peace in the Middle East.