MP Response to Gaza Question

Dear Mr Lux,

Thank you for your email of 5th August about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I am grateful to you for expressing your concerns on this matter, which highlight two very important issues.

It is tragic that so many innocent civilians, including women and children, have been killed and injured. The Government has made clear to all parties at every opportunity that the current situation is in no one’s interest, and is harmful to prospects for the Middle East Peace Process. We now have a 72 hour ceasefire. The Government’s objective is to make that permanent so the killing stops.

The UK maintains a rigorous and transparent arms export control system; all applications are assessed on a case by case basis, against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. The Criteria make clear our commitment to assess the risk of exports being used for internal repression or to provoke or prolong armed conflicts or aggravate existing tensions or conflict in the country of final destination. The Government applies these criteria rigorously, including with respect to Israel, and does not allow any arms exports which are assessed to be contrary to those criteria.

In view of the situation in Gaza, we are keeping all licence applications under review to ensure that all our decisions remain consistent with our human rights commitments and all applicable criteria. If a decision is taken to suspend or revoke licences we will announce this to Parliament, and where possible we will do this in concert with our EU partners.

Extensive restrictions have been made on imports and exports into Gaza, including transfers between the West Bank and Gaza, which have had a major detrimental effect on Gaza’s economy and make investment in Gaza particularly difficult.

Overall, it is again important to re-iterate that a negotiated two-state solution remains the only way to resolve the conflict once and for all and to achieve a sustainable peace so that Israeli and Palestinian families can live without fear of violence. No other option exists which guarantees peace and security for both peoples, and I can assure you the UK will work with all parties to make progress towards this goal.

I hope that this response is helpful in addressing your concerns and thank you for contacting me.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Aldous
Member of Parliament for Waveney

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