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Middle East

Volume 584: debated on Tuesday 22 July 2014

We welcome the efforts to secure a ceasefire, which remains the best means of ending the current cycle of violence. I call upon Hamas, as I have already said, and all militant factions in Gaza to cease hostilities so that the bloodshed on both sides can stop.

What steps is my hon. Friend taking to ensure that there is no further escalation of violence in Gaza, that Israel acts in a proportionate and responsible manner, and that international aid and support gets through to the people who are suffering in Gaza?

We have increased our funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the main UN organisation operating in Gaza, by £5 million. The Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary have been communicating with the parties involved in Gaza, and indeed in Israel, to encourage them to listen to what Egypt is saying and to agree a ceasefire.

Securing a ceasefire is urgently needed to stop this terrible loss of life. Will discussions on a ceasefire include considering the future of the terror tunnels, from which Mumbai-type atrocities are being planned against Israeli civilians?

The immediate priority is to have a ceasefire in place, and then, as John Kerry has stated, we can move towards a longer term solution, which must include all aspects, including—dare I say it?—the territories. These must be considered following on from the ceasefire itself.