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My Ilford Recorder Column - 31 July 2014

I share the grave concerns of many of my constituents at the spiral of violence, and unacceptable loss of life in the conflict between Hamas and Israel.

More than 2000 rockets have been fired at towns and cities in Israel from Gaza in recent weeks, which is an intolerable situation for any government. The scale of the suffering in densely populated Gaza from Israeli air strikes which has already cost more than 1000 Palestinian lives, most of whom are civilians and many of whom are innocent children - is unacceptable and risks fueling yet more extremism and conflict.

The people of Israel, who have so far lost over 40 lives, have a right to live without fear for their security, just as the Palestinian people of Gaza and the West Bank have a right to live in peace. The escalation in recent days has served only to bring more suffering to both Palestinians and Israelis. There can be no military solution.

There must be an urgent ceasefire and an end to the pattern of rocket attacks and periodic occupation that has left both sides living in fear. Only by dialogue, politics and negotiation can lasting peace can be achieved. Hamas must stop its rocket attacks, and Israel must end its air and ground military operation in Gaza.

The British Government must work with allies at the United Nations to achieve a lasting ceasefire and a return to negotiations to achieve a two-state settlement that establishes a viable Palestinian state alongside a secure, internationally recognised Israel.

I share the widespread frustration that there has been such limited progress in recent years and I can assure constituents that I will continue to press our Government to work internationally to urgently restart the peace process.

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