Israel and Gaza

Greg Smith Excerpts
Tuesday 26th March 2024

(1 month, 4 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Andrew Mitchell Portrait Mr Mitchell
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Given the position that the hon. Lady has just outlined, I am sure she will welcome yesterday’s resolution 2728 and the progress that it reflects. She has quoted a specific Israeli Minister, but she will know that there are many voices in Israel at this time. Israel is a pluralist democracy—the only one in the region—and we are hearing many different voices. In respect of any attack on Rafah, she will have heard the words of the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary, and indeed myself at this Dispatch Box on the ill-advised nature of military action in Rafah at this time.

Greg Smith Portrait Greg Smith (Buckingham) (Con)
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I have listened carefully to the answers that my right hon. Friend has given about the resolution passed, but it is my understanding that only a few weeks ago, the UK explained at the UN that it could not vote for a resolution that does not condemn the atrocities Hamas committed, and that simply calling for a ceasefire would not make one happen. It even said last month that such a resolution

“could endanger the hostage negotiations”.

As night follows day, the resolution was passed yesterday, and the Israelis have had to withdraw their negotiators due to what they have described as “delusional demands” from Hamas. Will my right hon. Friend accept that this resolution has made a material change for the worse, and that getting the hostages out has now actually been made less likely?

Andrew Mitchell Portrait Mr Mitchell
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I do not agree with my hon. Friend. The British position has always been very clear: we want a pause that enables the hostages to come out and enables food and vital humanitarian supplies to come in. We believe and hope that that will lead to a sustainable ceasefire, and I do not think there is anything in resolution 2728 that acts or goes against that.