Gareth Snell MP

Labour and Co-operative MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central

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Statement on the Deaths of 58 Civilians in Gaza

The death of 58 civilians and the injuries sustained by over 2000 people yesterday in Gaza are simply unacceptable. As the United Nations have made clear today, the rules of ‘use of force’ under international law have been unquestionably broken in yesterday’s events. The news emerging of protesters being shot almost 700m away from the border, some in the back and the deaths of children cannot be justified and must be condemned in the strongest terms.

Prime Minister Netanyahu must take responsibility and apologise unreservedly for the disproportionately violent response that his armed forces have undertaken. There can be no justification for these deaths and I'm horrified to hear Prime Minister Netanyahu this evening trying to justify what has happened. The actions of his military have further damaged Israel's standing in the international community and will further hinder attempts towards a peaceful political resolution.

I also condemn those extremists in Hamas who have exploited and induced ordinary Palestinians through financial incentives to encourage and participate in violent clashes at the border. Those in Hamas who talk about peace, but have actively tried to orchestrate violent clashes have no doubt contributed to the deaths of more Palestinians.

There will be no peace until compromise and tolerance prevails over hatred and violence. I support my colleague Emily Thornberry in calling for an immediate halt to the violence and for the UN Security Council to order an urgent investigation.
Yesterday's events are a tragic reminder of the failure of the peace process in the Middle East and must act as a catalyst for world leaders to restart the journey to a peaceful political resolution. My thoughts are with those grieving tonight and I add my voice to those calling for immediate international action.


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