Some recent responses from our local MPs to constituents’ concerns about the crisis in Gaza:
Laurence Robertson MP for Tewkesbury on 13 July (before the land invasion). Responding to a constituent who expressed concern about the intensive collective punishment against Palestinians in the West Bank and the number of civilians (including many children) killed or injured in Gaza:
“I can understand your concerns and the Foreign Secretary is aware of these. However, the situation is far from simple. For example, Hamas has been responsible for many attacks on Israel and these must be discontinued if there is to be any chance of peace. The government will therefore be pressing for an end to such attacks and for Hamas to recognise the right of Israel to exist.”
Richard Graham MP, Gloucester. Part of an on-going correspondent with two constituents:
On 14 July:
“ Appalling, the whole thing.
The UN (ie us) already spends millions each year already via UNRWA which was supposed to be temporary. Another invasion just means more repairs to human lives, infrastructure and buildings. ….
The basic issue is that Hamas does not recognise the right of Israel to exist, and their avowed aim, like Iran’s, is to destroy Israel. Until that changes the world will not deal with Hamas, including many Muslim states and Israel considers herself at war with Hamas.
I despair at the illegal settlements, the wall, the extra judicial activities of settlers, the constant military courts rulings on children stone throwing and a hundred other things done by Israel.
But as we watch Muslims fight each other, killing harmless thousands in Syria and Iraq, know the continuing Palestinian infighting – which I saw close up – we cannot say there is a clash between good and evil. It is one where very few emerge with any credit.
I’ve never been gloomier.”
And rather more succinctly, on 13 July:
“….. we’re all sickened by the cycle of violence in Israel as well as Iraq and Syria. I am depressed for the region. There are no good guys except the many innocent.”
Martin Horwood MP, Cheltenham, in a statement issued 23 July (following a long period of silence) sent to constituents by his assistant, David Fidgeon:
“I unreservedly condemn the rocket attacks on civilian neighbourhoods in Israel by whoever is sending them. But I also think the response by the Israeli government has been clearly disproportionate. It is killing far too many civilians and leading to a significant loss of life on only one side. I urge restraint and a return to ceasefire on both sides. On the broader peace process I have already condemned Israel’s continued settlement-building programme and I don’t see the attempt to build a united Palestinian authority as good enough grounds to break off the peace process. We had to grit our teeth and talk to suspected murderers and bombers during the Irish peace process and Israelis will have to do likewise. I have also publicly urged the UK government and its European allies to look at whether there is any leverage in the favourable economic relationship between the EU and both Israel and Palestine which could be used to bring both sides back to the negotiating table.”