Thank you for contacting me about the situation in Gaza. I note your calls for the UK to push for a ceasefire. The UK is working via all diplomatic channels—bilaterally and collectively in the region—to ensure that this conflict, which has cost so many lives already, can be brought to a halt.
The reality is that Hamas have no interest in a ceasefire. They have no interest in resolution, have never attempted to engage in a two-state solution, and have made every attempt to collapse the Oslo process. Furthermore, a unilateral and unconditional ceasefire would simply allow Hamas to entrench their position and continue their attacks. Indeed, Hamas have reiterated their intentions, stating clearly that "we will repeat the October 7 attack time and time again until Israel are annihilated". I must therefore reiterate that Israel has the right to take action to defend itself and to recover its hostages, and the UK, while respecting that, will continue to encourage it to adhere to international law and protect civilians.
The UK recognises the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, and supports a lasting solution for Israelis and Palestinians alike. However, Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people or their aspirations; it offers nothing for them other than more terror and more bloodshed. The UK has long held the position that there should be a negotiated settlement leading to a safe and secure Israel living alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state, based on 1967 borders. For many years the UK has consistently called - both bilaterally and via the UN - for an immediate end to all actions that undermine the viability of such a solution.
Looking to the long-term, the UK Government has been clear that we must never lose sight of how essential the two-state solution is. The UK will work with our international partners to bring renewed energy and creativity to that effort. This will rely on establishing more effective governance for Palestinian territories in Gaza and the west bank, and will also mean challenging actions that undercut legitimate aspirations for Palestinian statehood.
The loss of every innocent life is a tragedy, and while acknowledging that Hamas has enmeshed itself amidst the civilian population of Gaza, the UK Government has called on Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Herzog the need for Israel to act in line with international law and take every possible step to avoid harming civilians in Gaza, and will continue to do so. The terrorist attacks perpetrated by Hamas are heinous and unprecedented, and Israel has the right to defend itself and recover hostages as guaranteed by Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.