Full letter text:
Thank you for writing to me about the situation in Gaza and EDM 1685.
The events of the last few weeks have been devastating for our communities. We all share in the shock and grief at the news and images from Israel and Palestine. Although the tensions and violence are not new in the region, the most recent escalation of violence and humanitarian crisis is horrifying. Decades of a lack of international leadership on Israel and Palestine has seen periods of escalated violence, law breaking and suffering.
There are clear reports that atrocities across the Middle East amount to war crimes under international law – we must see the independent investigation of these and those accountable be held to account for their actions. The use of white phosphorous in Gaza and Lebanon, the starving of access to food, water, and electricity to over 1 million Palestinians by Netanyahu’s Government, and the attacks on and hostage-taking of innocent civilians by Hamas – these are all condemnable acts. There can be no justification for the murder of innocent men, women and children.
This is why I stand firmly alongside international calls for an immediate ceasefire by all parties – including stepping back from a ground invasion and the cessation of rocket fire. It is the only way to end the loss of more innocent lives. There must be unfettered humanitarian access to alleviate suffering in and collective punishment of those in Gaza, and the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages. As the 2022-23 Session of Parliament has now ended, all Early Day Motions (EDMs) including EDM 1685 have now closed. As a member of the shadow Frontbench, I am not permitted to sign EDMs.
Alongside Sarah Owen MP, I have written to the Prime Minister, along lines outlined in the EDM, in support of an immediate ceasefire.
As your Member of Parliament, I have questioned Foreign Office Ministers directly, calling on the UK government to work with international partners to get more food, water, medicine, and fuel into Gaza. You can watch my question here.
My office and I are in ongoing 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.
I am 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. I am 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).
I will keep you updated on my actions as the situation continues. If you have loved ones in Gaza and are concerned about their welfare, please contact my team on firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will continue to call for serious and concerted renewed negotiation for a two-state solution, with a viable Palestinian state alongside a safe and secure Israel.
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.
Thank you again for your email.
Rachel Hopkins MP
Member of Parliament for Luton South