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Israel and Palestine: Ceasefires

Volume 692: debated on Wednesday 6 June 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What steps they and the quartet are taking in order to restore comprehensive ceasefires over the whole of Israel and Palestine. [HL4035]

We welcome the ceasefire on 19 May between the Palestinian factional groups and Palestinian President Abbas's recent efforts to ensure that it holds. We also welcome his efforts to persuade Palestinian militant groups to respect the ceasefire with Israel and restore law and order to Gaza.

On 30 May, the quartet (EU, UN, US and Russia) called for all Palestinians immediately to renounce all acts of violence and respect the ceasefire. It also strongly condemned the continued firing of Qassam rockets into Israel and endorsed President Abbas's call for an immediate end to such violence. The quartet expressed its concern about Israeli actions in Gaza and urged Israel to exercise restraint to ensure that its security operations avoid civilian casualties or damage to civilian infrastructure. The quartet has agreed to meet in June with both parties to review progress and discuss the way forward. The full quartet statement is available on the Foreign and Commonwealth website at: www.fco.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=1082829112886.

The EU has called for the parties to consolidate the ceasefire in Gaza and to extend it to the West Bank. We, along with the quartet, will encourage them to respect the existing ceasefires.