Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today [Tuesday] called for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza to allow aid to reach Palestinian civilians and to support the release of Israeli hostages taken after Hamas’s terrorist attacks. Speaking during Foreign Office questions today Mr Carmichael noted the action of the French government in arguing for a truce, and called on the UK government to back the initiative.
More than 1,400 were killed in the attacks on Israel by Hamas gunmen who raided communities near the border, targeting civilians, and more than 200 hostages abducted by Hamas continue to be held in Gaza. Israel has continued heavy bombing of Gaza since the attacks, and the Hamas-run health ministry claims that almost 5,800 people have been killed in Gaza since 7 October.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Carmichael said:
“The Government of France have announced today that they are sending their Foreign Minister to the United Nations Security Council to argue for a humanitarian truce in Gaza, which in their words would be capable of leading to a ceasefire and necessary for the distribution of aid to civilian populations. It would also allow the focus to concentrate on the release of hostages, which I would have thought would commend itself also to the Government of Israel. Will the Government support [this]?”
Responding, the Foreign Secretary James Cleverly MP said:
“I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that we are trying to find every avenue to alleviate humanitarian suffering. We will be represented at senior ministerial level at the Security Council later today. We want to take action that will actually deliver aid and support to the Palestinian people who are suffering in Gaza.”
Reacting after the exchange, Mr Carmichael said:
“Israel of course has the right to defend itself against the terrorism of Hamas. Even so we need to recognise that enormous numbers of Palestinian civilians are being caught up in this crisis and must be supported as well.
“A conflict of this kind will not ultimately have a military solution. The United Kingdom has to play its part in supporting a humanitarian ceasefire, in order to protect civilians and get Israeli hostages in Gaza out.”